MISSION: To initiate and sustain serious, meaningful, open, and intellectually honest civil dialogue regarding the nature of our social, economic, political, moral, and legal obligations to ourselves and our posterity.
To involve interested individuals, governmental agencies, elected officials, and non-governmental organizations in the careful development, implementation and maintenance of programs which protect, rehabilitate, and support a stable and beneficial environment and economy for ourselves and our posterity.
All Future Generations of People
A Proposed Public-Private Coalition for an Agricultural Based Long-Term Program for Nutrient Removal, Recovery and Reuse from the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades (KOE) System
E. Allen Stewart III P.E.
June 11, 2019
There are four primary reasons for the degradation of the KOE. I call these The Four Horseman of the KOE Apocalypse. These are:
Exotic and Invasive Species
Remembering that pollution is nothing more than a misplaced resource, suppose we approach phosphorus in our waters not as a pollutant, but as free fertilizer. The remaining question then is, a fertilizer for what crop? Well, phosphorus is a pollutant because it acts as a fertilizer promoting aquatic plant and algae growth. So perhaps aquatic plants and algae would be the logical crops. If aquatic plants and certain types of algae can be cultivated in phosphorus polluted water, then the grower would have available two sources of income—the environmental service fee for actually removing phosphorus from the KOE, and the return from sales of products developed from the harvested aquatic plant and algae crop. In simpler terms, it is innovative farming. And assuming the environmental service fee were less than what is presently being paid for Stormwater Treatment Areas (STA) and related non-harvested systems, then the agencies also derive financial benefit. So how do we implement such an approach? Lets contemplate a PAY-FOR-PERFORMANCE srategy.
PAY-FOR-PERFORMANCE for phosphorus removal and recovery within the KOE would as a minimum require the following:
The involved agency(ies), e.g. the SFWMD, must provide a written commitment that for each pound of phosphorus actually removed from impaired surface waters and taken out of the KOE, the private service contractor would receive a set dollar amount, which could be negotiated on a case by case basis or could be set as a fixed amount.
This commitment would be applied in perpetuity in order to provide risk protection to interested entrepreneurs and to entice them to participate. The actual fee structure(s) could be revisited every few years to adjust to economic and operational changes.
The net removal goal for the KOE would be at least 2,000 tons of phosphorus each year. This might be done by a number of technologies, and the technology used by the private service contractor will be selected solely by the service contractor, who will be responsible for its permitting and implementation and all liabilities associated with products.
Performance would be monitored jointly by the agency and the private service contractor, who would assess the actual pounds of phosphorus removed as product exported from the KOE basin. There would be no “presumed” removal, but rather documentation of actual, verifiable removals.
All PAY-FOR-PERFORMANCE facilities and associated activities would be properly permitted by the private service contractor and have no significant impact on other features of the environment.
All costs associated with land purchases, construction, start-up, operation and maintenance, and product development, processing, marketing and distribution will be the sole responsibility of the service contractor. Monitoring costs will be assumed by both the involved agency and the private service contractor as duplicate assessments.
It is my opinion that if the entrepreneurial community is not included as a key participant in the KOE restoration program, there will be no meaningful restoration. Their involvement is not just important, it is vital. This has proven true in many situations in this country’s history, including the war effort, the space race, and upgrading of the nation’s wastewater infrastructure per section 201 of the Clean Water Act.