Title: Letter to Senator Guy Spicola regarding enforcement of Chap. 373.206
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00051543/00001
 Material Information
Title: Letter to Senator Guy Spicola regarding enforcement of Chap. 373.206
Alternate Title: Letter to Senator Guy Spicola regarding request for comment on enforcement of Chap. 373.206 and 373.209, plugging of flowing wells. Aug. 20, 1975, together with letter from U. S. Department of Interior describing well inventory in Hillsborough County
Physical Description: 5p.
Language: English
Publication Date: Aug. 20, 1975
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
General Note: Box 3, Folder 3D ( LEGISLATION - BOX 3, FOLDER 3 ), Item 162
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00051543
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

S..." Water management Disatrict

DERRILL McATEER, Chairman, Brooksville THOMAS VAN der VEER, Secretary. Yankectown JOE E. HILL, Leesburg
4AGE ROBERT E. VAUGHN, Vice Chairman. Brandon JOHN A. ANDERSON, St. Petersburg N. BROOKS JOHNS, Lakeland
J. R. GRAW, Treasurer, Ocala S C. BEXLEY, JR., Land O'Lakes RONALD B. LAMBERT, Wauchula
S*..' j Donald R. Feaster, Executive Director

S August 20, 1975


Honorable Guy Spicola AUG22 1975
Florida Senator, 22nd District
725 East Kennedy Boulevard
Tampa, Florida 33602 By ...--......-.. -*

Re: Artesian Wells

Dear Guy:

This will reply to your letter of August 15th to Commissioner Lester and
your specific request for my comment regarding the enforcement of Chapter
373.206 and 373.209, Florida Statutes.

I have known of these provisions for several years and it was my understand-
ing that, even though capping of wells had been required since 1953, the
provision was not actively enforced by the Department of Natural Resources.
In fact, due to lack of enforcement we recommended to our Peace River Basin
Board a few years ago that they begin a pilot study and project to control
flowing wells in the southern part of the Basin. At that time we were aware
that several hundred artesian wells in Charlotte County were causing a se-
vere degradation of the water resource. The wells in Hillsborough County
did not appear to present as serious a problem, but recent increased agri-
cultural and domestic water use brought about by the drought and population
growth has emphasized the new importance.

It wasn't until receipt of your letter and discussion with our staff attorney
that I realized that in August of 1974 the Department of Natural Resources
specifically delegated to SWFWMD the authority to enforce these sections.
After discussing this further with Mr. McAteer, he has directed that we im-
mediately take steps aimed towards controlling the flowing wells in question.

Let me point out, however, that it is not simply a matter of requiring the
property owner to install a cap or valve on the well, because in many cases
the quality of water is such that the well must be plugged instead of capped.
For further information along this line I've enclosed a copy of an article
which appeared in our October 1974 "Hydroscope" regarding our project in
Charlotte County. As another point of information, the cost of plugging
some of the flowing wells might run into several thousand dollars.

Following are steps which are necessary to solve the artesian well problem
and the staff has been instructed to proceed accordingly:

Honorable Guy Spicola
August 20, 1975
Page Two

1. Locate each of the wells (most of these have been done by the USGS).

2. Determine ownership of the property where the well is located.
3. Determine use of water from the well '(if the use is "reasonable and
.beneficial," then it is not a violation of statute).
4. Run a water quality analysis of the water.
5. Determine whether the well should be plugged, capped or a valve installed.
6. Determine whether legal steps should be taken to require the owner to
plug, cap or install a valve on the well (this is an important practical
consideration since the owner may have recently acquired a small parcel
and it may cost several thousand dollars to plug the well).

Needless to say, all of the above will take considerable time and the cost
could be significant whether to the individual property owner or to the Basin
Board. From a legal viewpoint it appears that the laws are sufficient, how-
ever, it will take a court case to determine inadequacies.

As a point of further information, enclosed is a copy of a letter from the
U.S. Geological Survey regarding the wells. The letter states that they
found 60 uncontrolled wells, but only about 10 were actually abandoned. These
10 will then become top priority and the other 50 or so wells will become
priority dependent upon the quality of water from the well and the use to which
the water is being put. Other artesian wells referred to in the letter, even
though controlled or capped, may have to be plugged after a water quality

Guy, please let me apologize for the lengthiness of this letter, but I thought
it important to mention all these points. Let me also thank you for bringing
this to my attention and I apologize for not having realized before that this
responsibility had been delegated to us. Let me assure you that we will pro-
ceed as rapidly as possible in an attempt to control these flowing wells.

Sincerely yours,

Executive Director

cc: Mr. D. S. McAteer
Mr. Robert Martinez
Mr. k. G. Gibbons
Mr. L. M. Blain
Mr. J. W. Landers, Jr.
Alafia River Basin Board

-_ United States Department of the Interior

S0 Water Resources Division
500 Zack Street
Tampa, Florida 33602

August. 11, 1975

Larry Hall r
Water Resources Dept.
Hillsborough County .
P. 0. Box 1110 "
Tampa, Florida "

Dear Larry:

Enclosed is a table which summarizes a water-well inventory conducted near
,Ruskin and Cockroach Bay in coastal southwest Hillsborough County. Most of
the 30 square miles in the inventory are west of Highway 301. Locations of
the wells are shown on aerial photographs (also enclosed).

The purpose of the well inventory was to locate wells that were flowing
"water in an uncontrolled manner. Uncontrolled is defined as having no
means of stopping the flow, such as caps or check valves (or leaky check
valves). The inventory was conducted during the month of February 1975,
and it is probable that many wells that had no caps or check valves but
were not flowing at that time, may be flowing in the fall when water levels
are higher. Therefore these wells are also classified as uncontrolled.

More than 60 uncontrolled wells were located in this inventory. A few
appear to 5e totally abandoned (perhaps 10 or more). Most, however, are
irrigation wells that arperlodically pumped for agricultural purposes.
These wells are left to flow freely when not being used for irrigation.
It is estimated that a minimum of 3 million gallons of water per day flows
unused through abandoned irrigation ditches into Tampa Bay. During the
wet season when water levels are higher, the amount may be closer to 6
million gallons.

The inventory also included locations of approximately 20 unused capped
wells. Although these wells are classified as controlled wells and they
are not discharging water from the aquifer, these wells may be vehicles
for aquifer contamination as poor quality water form deeper zones mixes
with good quality water in upper zones. Plugging unused wells would be
of some help in maintaining the existing quality of water in the upper
parts of the Floridan Aquifer in this part of the county.

In addition to 60 uncontrolled wells and 20 unused controlled wells, the
inventory included about 70 controlled wells that are presently being
used. Most of these are irrigation wells. It is possible that in years
to come these wells may become abandoned as the area becomes more urbanized.
Exact locations of these wells today may be worth noting as abandoned wells
can be considerably more difficult to locate.

-Mr. Larry all
Spage 2
August 11, 1975

I '
A separate well inventory excluding the area in this inventory has been v,
conducted around Apollo Beach by the developers of that area. Of the 45
wells shown in that inventory, most are; unused and controlled but about
8 or 10 are uncontrolled. Not shown in the inventory are a few that are
in man-made canals.

North of Apollo Beach to the Alafia River is another coastal area that
contains some additional uncontrolled and controlled wells. Most of
these wells do not flow because water levels are lower in this area.
Locations of about 80 percent of these wells are given in the U.S.G.S.
open-file report 4031 by Duerr. A breakdown of which wells are con-
.i trolled and which are uncontrolled, as well as their locations plotted
on aerial photographs, will be sent to you at a later date.

If you have any questions concerning this matter please do not hesitate
to call me.


? v mf A2AA---
Dan Duerr


_.. -i ,. ... -, -

C* .

00% W.

Distr ct Launches Operation QWIP
(ORDA. JJ J- j_ rjJ .-,J .
Wetterhall explains how that well and --
more than 400 other wells are contami- " -
nating the upper aquifers with chlorides .J J 0J !eJr ji4' J
and sulfides in the area: J"uJ A .JJ JJ. J
"In the northern part of the District, h_ A J .j-L{ .
there is generally a single-aquifer: one deep -
water-saturated layer of limestone underJ -J I j
layers of sand and clay. jJ J 4 <& J7!,-b t J( '3"
"in the Peace River Basin, however, the, J- J J J- J J
geohydrology is more complex. Layers of -'J '-- J Jj Jj.JJ
impermeable or semi-permeable materials --
intersect the limestone, dividing it into -- J ... ..J.. -^ .
different zones and creating a multi-aquifer j -' a J_ i..
system. _a--J1" J " J 4- .j -J
"As a general rule, the deepest aquifer _
-the fifth aquifer -- is heavily contaminated __J Jj.
with chlorides and sulfides. It is also under -j aJJJ J7JJj J.-Ji -JjJ
greater pressures than the aquifers above J IJ J J-J.. J-1 j
it. J
"Now what happens when someone
drills a well into that deep aquifer and HOW PLUGGING A WELL STOPS AQUIFER CONTAMINATION. In Well A [unplugged],
doesn't case it properly? Or what happens if water from the deepest and most contaminated aquifer gushes upward. Because it is under
the hydrogen sulfide in the water corrodes greater pressure than the waters in the higher aquifers, it flows into them, polluting them
the casing away? with chlorides and sulfides. In Well B [plugged below the second aquifer], flow from the
"The polluted water spurts upward third, fourth, and fifth aquifers is stopped. Better-quality water from the first and second
under artesian pressure and pours into the aquifers is allowed to flow into the well shaft and to the surface.
upper aquifers, contaminating them with The only way to stop the contamination Lakeland.
salts. The water that reaches the surface is to plug -- not ca -- each of these wells Wetterhal emphasized that QWIP is a
either flows into lakes and streams, turning between'the'-eeper aquiters, Wetterhall
them brackish, or evaporates, leaving the explains. Plugging will enable better long-term project.
chlorides on the soil in a concentrated quality water from the upper aquifers to"It will be 5-10 years before we can talk
form." entr the well and flow to the surface about a substantial improvement in water
The District has now inventoried more Capping, on the other hand, would force quality throughout Charlotte County. We
than 400 wells -- most of them large more of the contaminated water into the can't expect miracles overnight.
irrigation wells drilled many years ago -- in upper aquifers. "First, it's going to take lots of time tc
Charlotte County that are continually "Plugging those wells represents a real get to each of those well sites, talk to th(
contaminating the upper aquifers. Some of challenge. Not only must cement be poured property owners, get their permission t<
them flow at rates in excess of a million into the shaft to harden only at a specific proceed, run the necessary pre-pluRggin
gallons per day. point, but this must be done against a tests and get the well properly plugged.
"If this constant pollution isn't stop- gushing flow of water under great "Second, Nature works at her own pace
ped," Wetterhall emphasizes, "it is just a pressure." We can eliminate the sources ot pollution
matter ot time before Charlotte County The pilot project is authorized and but we have to wait tor natural recharge t,
loses its potable water supply." funded by the Peace River Basin Board, dilute the pollutants already there."
chaired by Mr. N. Brooks Johns of

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