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Study finds contaminated water reaching Florida's offshore keys

ffshore. The frequency of detecting viruses increased with rainfall in the summer months, when the viruses were most likely to be found in groundwater. Lipp cautioned, however, that the test used to identify the enteric viruses was not designed to determine whether the viruses were alive or dead.

Until we actually know the level of risk, our findings are just an indication that there could be some level of sewage contamination offshore, she said. It doesnt indicate that people need to change their behavior, but does show that the appropriate treatment of water through centralized sewage is needed.

Bill Kruczynski, Florida Keys Program Scientist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the installation of new wastewater management systems such as centralized collection and advanced wastewater treatment facilities, as recommended by the Water Quality Protection Program (WQPP) for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and required by Florida State Law 99-395, is essential to restore and maintain water quality in the Florida Keys. In addition, the WQPP recommended improved storm water treatment practices to further reduce pollutant loading to nearshore waters.

The Sanctuary and Monroe County are taking the right steps to improve water quality by enacting no dumping ordinances and implementing centralized sewage, Lipp said. The next step is to ensure that its working and hopefully document an improvement in water quality.


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Contact: Sam Fahmy
sfahmy@uga.edu
706-542-5361
University of Georgia
24-Jul-2007


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