A letter to the Mayor of Miami

Virginia Key and Key Biscayne are barrier islands which are, by their nature, exposed to the elements.

Virginia Key and Key Biscayne are barrier islands which are, by their nature, exposed to the elements.

On February 15, 2013 the Village of Key Biscayne sent Carlos Gimenez, Mayor of Miami, a letter asking Miami-Dade County to take another look at the plans to improve the central wastewater treatment plant located on Virginia Key. Key Biscayne is concerned that the plans do not adequately consider the impacts of climate change, such as increased sea levels and stronger storm surges, and do not include funding for flood mitigation. Considering Virginia Key is a barrier island, and therefor more vulnerable to weather and flooding, makes these oversights in planning for a wastewater treatment plant on this Key particularly alarming.

Key Biscayne supports the County’s immediate plans to address Clean Water Act outflow violations, deteriorated conditions at the Virginia Key facility, and of sewer lines identified as being at risk of rupturing, including the 54 inch under-bay line from Miami Beach to Fisher Island to Virginia Key. At the same time, the Village of Key Biscayne, situated just south of Virginia Key, is relying on the County to protect their natural environment. As long as infrastructure improvement plans do not address these long-term issues the residents of the adjacent island community of Key Biscayne will be understandably concerned for their quality of life. Key Biscayne is already plagued by foul odors from the central wastewater facility and occasional sewage spills.

Community voices like key Biscayne, calling for better sewage infrastructure, are the impetus for Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper’s legal initiatives for this issue. If the County will not address the concerns of local residential and business communities, or the needs of our fragile natural resources, then legal action may be the only way we can ensure that the County properly address these issues.

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