FL Keys test aquifer for radioactive substances

Posted at 9:23 AM, Mar 15, 2016

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority is testing for radioactive substances in the aquifer that acts as the island chain's main drinking water supply.

The testing follows a Miami-Dade County study in Biscayne Bay that found high levels of a radioactive isotope linked to water from canals at Florida Power & Light's Turkey Point nuclear power plant.

Researchers taking water samples in December and January found tritium levels up to 215 times higher than normal in ocean water.

The tritium levels are below federal water quality standards. The Key West Citizen reports that the aqueduct authority also is tracking a saltwater plume from the plant that could potentially threaten the water supply.

The agency's executive director, Kirk Zuelch, says the new testing of 22 wells for radioactive substances is "prudent."