South Florida task force examines how oil could affect 3,000 miles of canals during and after a storm

What if we get oil — and flooding?, Palm Beach Post, June 2, 2010:

A task force of 14 scientists, engineers, emergency planners and hazmat officials has been formed to study how oil could affect the South Florida Water Management District’s ability to move water in more than 3,000 miles of canals during and after a storm, water managers said Tuesday, the beginning of Florida’s hurricane season. …

“Obviously this is a unique situation,” said Susan Sylvester, director of operations at the water management district. … “We are obviously thinking about this,” Sylvester said at a briefing on the district’s hurricane preparedness.  The task force, which has met twice, will review a variety of scenarios and issues, Sylvester said. Among them:

  • If oil washes ashore and a storm causes flooding, how and when should the district release polluted water from swollen inland canals into the Intracoastal Waterway and ocean, where oil would have already damaged plants and wildlife?
  • Should water managers consider releasing water to push the oil away from the coastline or prevent oil from moving upstream — a tactic already employed in the Gulf Coast states — even though the district’s releases would be polluted with fertilizer runoff?

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