Sebastian Inlet Chapter

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Sebastian Inlet Chapter

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The Sebastian Inlet Chapter has collaborated with research scientists to perform water quality sampling of Brevard and Indian River County's premier surfing and recreation beaches. The chapter, guided by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution marine scientist, Dr. Peter Barile, collected samples containing elevated levels of various nutrients (ammonium, nitrate-nitrite, and phosphorus). It also collected algae from beach rocks and submitted them for nitrogen isotope analysis to trace and discriminate human nitrogen sources to the beach, such as sewage and fertilizers.

These initial rounds of testing showed evidence of human sewage in the surf just 15 feet off shore that were high enough to trigger harmful algal blooms such as red tide, which have plagued the Florida coast and made people ill, according to an editorial in Florida Today. In all, seven beaches from Jetty Park at Port Canaveral to Vero Beach showed significantly elevated bacterium levels.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an 83-page report that concluded that there was insufficient data to support claims by the Sebastian Inlet Chapter that high nutrient levels in Brevard County’s coastal waters are elevated from sewage released from deep injection wells, wastewater plants or cruise ships. However, the report also concluded that the county should conduct more water tests and encourage cruise ships to discharge wastewater 14 miles from Port Canaveral.

The chapter is concerned about pollution from gambling boats and cruise ships. The chapter has mounted a Gambling Boat Campaign and is encouraging residents of Brevard County to write letters to Canaveral Port Authority Port Commissioners and all Florida residents to write letters to their state representatives to force gambling boats to use the pump out services at the port and stop the gambling boats from dumping their sewage right off the Brevard County coastline.



You can contact the Sebastian Inlet Chapter via email at chair@sebastianinlet.surfrider.org

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