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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A nonprofit says underwater video of a treated sewage leak off Virginia Key is evidence of Miami-Dade County’s aging sewage infrastructure.
The treated sewage meets federal standards if it is discharged 3 1/2 miles off shore.
“The discharge itself is coming out ¾ of mile off of shore where it is supposed to be 3 ½ miles from shore,” said Kelly Cox.
Further out in the Atlantic the sewage dissipates in swift currents. This leak was discovered in August of 2016. It’s discussed in a series of Miami-Dade County memos obtained by the Miami Waterkeeper organization – a nonprofit advocate for clean ocean water.
“Partially treated sewage contains excess phosphors, nitrogen and bacterias like fecal cawlaform bacteria, E.coli, all of which are dangerous to human health,” said Cox.
The county issued a statement:
“We are working on making additional assessments on the outfall pipe. If in fact a leak were to be found, we would take the necessary steps to address it.”
The county is bound by a 2014 consent decree to fix sewage infrastructure. The emails indicated no inspection has been conducted for 10 years.
Miami Waterkeeper is set to sue over the sewage spew.
“This is an example of ongoing problems with the county – their failure to maintain existing infrastructure despite having funding allocated for maintenance,” Cox said.