|Sewage in Paradise|
|Topic||Government and the Economy|
|Key Words||Over-development, congestion, bond issue|
The waters around the Florida Keys are contaminated with human feces. The cause is antiquated sewage lines and septic tanks, which are ill-suited to high water table, porous limestone, and overdevelopment. The effects of swallowing the water can include nausea, diarrhea, and ear and eye infections. Some tourists are leaving when they learn they cannot swim in the ocean. However, many stay because they can still sunbathe on the beach, dive offshore, and frequent the bars in Key West.
The problem has renewed concern that the Keys are over-populated and over-visited. In 1990, Monroe County, which includes the Keys, had a population of 78,000; by 1998, the population had grown to 85,646. In addition, 18,600 visitors visit Key West each day. The road back to the mainland is congested, even mid-week.
The Key West City Commission is asking voters to approve a bond issue to improve sewer lines and the sewage treatment plant.
(Updated December 1, 1999)
|Source||Rick Bragg, "Crowded Florida Keys A Paradise in Trouble," The New York Times, September 28, 1999.|
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