MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An internal study of the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer system determined the county needs about a billion dollars of repairs.

Residents who live near Biscayne Bay, Hialeah, and Little Haiti have all dealt with major water or sewer main ruptures over the past couple of years.

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Many of the pipes and plants are more than 50 years old and deteriorating. Doug Yoder, Deputy Director of Miami Dade’s Water and Sewer Department explained, “Maintenance is done on a regular basis but eventually things just wear out.”  Mayor Carlos Gimenez said, ” The infrastructure improvements are needed. We need to maintain our system we need to repair our system and the cost is not going to be cheap.”

Gimenez says the most critical improvements will take place over the next three to five years.  He says the water and sewer budget will be used to fund repairs this year and water rates will not go up this year, but may rise in the future.

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“We’re going to have to come up with a different funding mechanism,” said Gimenez, “hopefully we get some state grants hopefully some federal grants but in the end I have a feeling it’s going be borne by us at the local level.”

The county will pay residents who lost property in the water main breaks.  But many residents hope the county will take immediate action to repair failing pipes,”to prevent this ever happening again,” said Little Haiti resident Deryl Blankenship.

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Yoder warned even with the all the necessary repairs, “I  think it’s almost a certainty we will continue to experience some additional pipe breaks …What we hope to avoid is having really large pipe breaks, and that’s where we’ve focused our priorities making sure the pipes that do the most damage get fixed before they fail.”