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  1. #1
    Special Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Gulf Breeze, FL

    Default Interesting article on Florida water

    Thought some of you might be interested:



    "With regard to cave diving, the great thing is to be carried where you could not have imagined you would ever be, and then to come back alive."

    "Wilderness. The word itself is music." Abbey, Desert Solitaire

  2. #2

    Default Another Interesting Article About Florida (Cave) Water

    Article published Jul 27, 2005
    Dye in sinkholes to show chance of pollution

    ALACHUA - The sight of green and red liquid being pumped into two local sinkholes looks like an environmental catastrophe.

    But the harmless technique will help environmental regulators prevent actual contamination from polluting groundwater.

    Environmental consultants on Tuesday pumped 400 pounds of mint-green and blood-red dye into the Lee and Mill creek sinks. In the coming days they'll track whether the nontoxic dyes turn up in 30 springs and wells in the area.

    The dyes will show whether development near the sinkholes has the potential to affect ground and surface water, said Chris Bird, director of Alachua County Environmental Protection, which funded the project.

    "This is going to help us choose our battles," he said.

    The dyes are expected to dilute to such an extent they can't be seen with the naked eye, but water testing will reveal their presence. Bird said the testing will help the department to understand the path of underground caves for the first time. "It's still very much a mystery," he said.

    Sinkholes are common in central and western Alachua County. Many streams drain into the sinkholes, dropping water into underground caverns, which sometimes comes back out again in springs and wells.

    "The streams aren't on the surface anymore - the streams are down below," said Tom Morris of Karst Environmental Services, which is conducting the project.

    Cellon Creek feeds into Lee Sink, which is located in the San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park. Mill Creek runs into the sink of the same name, which is owned by a cave-diving group, the National Speleological Society.

    The second sink borders U.S. 441 and Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q restaurant in Alachua. Bird said a proposal for a gas station close to the sink was turned down, showing the potential for development that could impact the water.

    Morris has dived into the Mill Creek Sink several times before, on one occasion helping make the educational film "A Water's Journey." In the film, a radio signal above the ground shows he's swimming through caves located under Sonny's.

    But the caves narrow and fall more than 200 feet below the surface, he said, so diving their full extent isn't possible. Instead, the dyes will give a more complete picture of the water's path.

    Water will be sampled at about 30 springs and wells, including Hornsby and Poe springs and wells that provide groundwater for the cities of Alachua and High Springs. Karst will begin sampling today at the locations closest to the sinks.

    The firm has done dye work on previous occasions at Ichetucknee Springs. One study showed dye that was flushed down a ranger's toilet ended up in the springs, Morris said. For the current project, there's a remote chance dye will show up in visible quantities in private wells. But Morris doesn't expect it. "There could be a phone call - 'My water's turning to blood!'" he said with a laugh.




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