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Posted on: February 18, 2021

New Kermit H. Lewin Reverse Osmosis Facility FONSI-NOIRROF-Final Floodplain Notice

Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority logo

Combined Notice of Finding of No Significant Impact, Notice of Intent to Request Release of Funds, and Final Notice and Public Review of a Proposed Action in a 100-year Floodplain 



To:  All interested Agencies, Groups, and Individuals


This notice shall satisfy separate but related procedural requirements for activities to be undertaken by the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA).




On or about March 11, 2021, the FKAA will submit a request to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) for the release of Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds under Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (PL 93-383) to undertake the proposed project known as the New Kermit H Lewin Reverse Osmosis Facility for the purpose of replacing an existing water treatment plant (WTP) with inadequate capacity and substandard treatment technology. The proposed action is located at 7000 Front Street, Stock Island, Key West, Monroe County, Florida. The proposed action involves replacing the existing FKAA Stock Island Reverse Osmosis (SIRO) WTP with the New Kermit H Lewin Reverse Osmosis Facility, a seawater desalination water treatment plant that is resistant to flooding and hurricane winds.




The FKAA has determined that the project will have no significant impact on the human environment. Therefore, an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is not required. Additional project information is contained in the Environmental Review Record (ERR) on file and available for review Monday – Friday 8 am to 5 pm at 1010 Kennedy Drive, Suite 307, Key West, and online at




The FKAA has conducted an evaluation as required by Executive Order 11988, in accordance with HUD regulations at 24 CFR 55.20 Subpart C Procedures for Making Determinations on Floodplain Management, to determine the effect that its activity in the floodplain will have on the human environment for the New Kermit H Lewin Reverse Osmosis Facility.


The entire facility site (6.47 acres) is within the 100-year floodplain according to the Effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) Panel 12087C1536K, with 4.31 acres of the site within Flood Zone VE (coastal flood zone with velocity hazard) and 2.16 acres within Flood Zone AE (1% annual chance flood). The Preliminary FIRM includes the entire site in Flood Zone AE.


The proposed action must be located in the 100-year floodplain because it is replacing an existing facility within the floodplain and would connect to the pipelines and other infrastructure serving that facility.


The FKAA examined three alternatives to the Proposed Action: the No Action Alternative (under which the existing WTP facility would continue to treat up to two million gallons of water per day), rehabilitation of the existing WTP building and construction of an additional new smaller WTP building just south of the existing WTP (under which the existing treatment building would be rehabilitated as much as possible to treat two million gallons of water per day and the new building would treat an additional two million gallons of water per day), and constructing the new WTP immediately to the north of the site proposed for the proposed action (under which a new WTP treating up to four millions gallons of water per day would be built at a different location than under the proposed action). Due to the location of existing support infrastructure, the available alternatives are limited.


Disturbance of the floodplain by the proposed action would occur during demolition and construction activities and would cease once these activities are completed. The floodplain in the project area is not natural, completely developed, and previously disturbed by the existing WTP and associated infrastructure. No additional measures to address adverse impacts are proposed because the activities under the proposed action would preserve the existing condition and function of the floodplain.


As a result, the FKAA has determined that there is no practicable alternative to locating the proposed project in the 100-year floodplain. 




Any individual, group, or agency may submit written comments on the finding of no significant impact (FONSI), ERR, or Final Floodplain Notice to the FKAA, which will accept written comments during the hours of 8 am to 5 pm, Monday – Friday, delivered to Kerry G. Shelby, Executive Director, FKAA, 1010 Kennedy Drive, Suite 307, Key West, Florida 33040 with “Attention: New Kermit H Lewin Reverse Osmosis Facility” in the subject line. Comments may also be submitted via email at All comments received by March 10, 2021, will be considered prior to authorizing submission of a request for release of funds. Comments should specify which Notice they are addressing.




The FKAA certifies that Mr. Kerry G. Shelby, Executive Director, FKAA, in his capacity as Certifying Officer consents to accept the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts if an action is brought to enforce responsibilities in relation to the environmental review process and that these responsibilities have been satisfied. DEO’s approval of the certification satisfies its responsibilities under NEPA and related laws and authorities and allows the FKAA to use program funds.




DEO will accept objections to its release of funds and the FKAA’s certification for a period of 15 days following the anticipated submission date or its actual receipt of the request (whichever is later) only if they are on one of the following bases: (a) the certification was not executed by the Certifying Officer of the FKAA; (b) the FKAA omitted a step or failed to make a decision or finding required by the HUD regulations at 24 CFR Part 58; (c) the grant recipient or other participants in the development process have committed funds, incurred costs or undertaken activities not authorized by 24 CFR Part 58 before approval of a release of funds by DEO; or (d) another Federal agency acting pursuant to 40 CFR Part 1504 has submitted a written finding that the project is unsatisfactory from the standpoint of environmental quality. Objections must be prepared and submitted in accordance with the required procedures (24 CFR Part 58, Sec. 58.76) and shall be addressed to Stefanie Swanson, Grant Manager, 107 E. Madison Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399. Potential objectors should contact DEO to verify the actual last day of the objection period.



Date: February 20, 2021


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