MIAMI – Miami-Dade County officials are exploring ways to inject sewage deep into the earth instead of releasing it into the Atlantic Ocean.

Changes in state law will require the county’s water and sewer department to stop pumping most of the 300 million gallons of treated waste generated daily through pipes miles out into the ocean.

Officials tell The Miami Herald that the only inexpensive way to comply with the new law is to send treated waste into cavernous saltwater zones below South Florida’s drinking water supply.

Miami-Dade’s senior professional geologist, Virginia Walsh, says pumping waste into the earth to filter over centuries deep into the ocean is safer and more environmentally friendly than dumping sewage into the ocean.

The Environmental Protection Agency says Florida is the only state that allows municipal injection wells for such waste water.