Miami-Dade County Commission Takes Action to Save Biscayne Bay

MIAMI-DADE – The Board of County Commissioners on Oct. 3 passed a suite of new policies – spearheaded by Commissioner Levine Cava – aimed at tackling the mounting threats to our community’s clean water. 

The health of Miami-Dade’s economy, environment, and residents all hinge on access to clean water. But water quality decline is a serious and growing concern. In August, a grand jury declared that the health of Biscayne Bay is near an ecological tipping point and without action, the damage may become “irreversible.” The public was alerted to 68 failed water testing sites in 2018 alone. 

The following five resolutions, sponsored by Commissioner Levine Cava, focus on our failing sewage system, the restoration of Biscayne Bay, pollution prevention, and more: 

Sewage spills: A resolution directing the administration to target weaknesses in our current sewer system and more swiftly divert or shut off flows as soon as major problems are detected, to prevent future pipe breaks from dumping sewage into Biscayne Bay before they can be repaired. 

Restoration of Biscayne Bay: A resolution making the County a partner with the South Florida Water Management District in the “Cutler Wetland flow-way” project. The coastal wetland restoration projects critical to the health of Biscayne Bay are long overdue, and this project is an important step toward restoring natural flow of fresh water to the Bay (which will rejuvenate seagrass beds and even protect against saltwater intrusion). 

Single-use plastics: A resolution urging the Florida legislature to repeal laws that preempt local governments from regulating the use and sale of disposable plastic. Preemption is preventing local officials from acting to protect health and the environment, by following the lead of other communities across the country already working to reduce pollution from single-use plastics.  

Wetlands enhancement and education: This resolution urges the Florida legislature to provide funding for the Cutler Wetlands Observation Facility, which will include trails, boardwalks, and other educational resources, with the goal of promoting ecotourism and environmental education and reducing pollution. 

Sustainable technology: This resolution urges the State to provide funding for local pilot projects for new bio-solid processing technologies, as the County looks to innovate and adopt cutting-edge, environmentally-friendly technology.

“Clean water – water that is swimmable, drinkable and fishable – is truly the heart of our community, as we saw clearly from the public outcry at the Oct. 3 meeting,” said Commissioner Levine Cava. “We need bold, immediate action to protect our water and restore the Bay. I’m proud of the steps taken on Oct. 3 and will continue to push for forward-looking policies that safeguard our resources for the future, like accelerating pipe replacement, moving from septic to sanitary sewer, and not only adapting to but mitigating the growing impacts of climate change.”