E & E Publishing - Cities: Fight over a Fla. sewer pipe raises national financial and health issues

September 3, 2013

“Nondescript as it is, the pipe is at the center of one of the biggest fights over climate change in the country. It carries millions of tons of partially treated sewage daily — after it is piped underwater from Miami Beach — miles out to the ocean. Environmentalists fear a direct hit from a strong storm could knock out the plant and the pipe for long periods of time, sending raw sewage into Biscayne Bay.

“It could be much worse than Hurricane Sandy. If you had billions of gallons pouring into the waters, it would be a catastrophe, a calamity,” said Albert Slap, an attorney supporting Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, an advocacy group.

In addition to public health threats, there could be long-lasting effects on the ecosystem, he said. Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper’s supporters also expressed concerns about the liquid chlorine that is stored at the plant.”

The Wall Street Journal - Flood Fixes Vex Coastal Areas

June 14, 2013

“Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, an environmental advocacy group, challenged the proposed agreement in federal court earlier this year, arguing that it failed to account for rising sea levels, leaving some coastal treatment plants prone to disaster in a storm. “To rebuild these systems at current elevation, with no hardening, no sea walls…is the height of irresponsibility,” said Albert Slap, an attorney for the group.”

The Miami Herald - Miami-Dade commissioners approve spending $1.6 billion to fix water, sewer pipes

May 21, 2013

“Miami-Dade commissioners swallowed hard medicine Tuesday, approving an agreement with the federal and state governments to settle violations of environmental laws and committing $1.6 billion over the next 15 years to fix the county’s antiquated water and sewer pipes.”

March 10, 2013

“OUR OPINION: Environmental groups should have a say in negotiations [between Miami-Dade County and the EPA over Clean Water Act violations due to the Counties mismanagement of its sewage system.] – …One environmental group, Biscayne Bay Waterkeepers, has sought intervention in the negotiations in federal court, citing numerous concerns that, without proper oversight by outside experts and affected groups, the negotiations will produce a flawed solution to the problem of repeated dumping of raw sewage into Biscayne Bay and its tributaries, as well as inundations on streets and in homes.”

The Miami Herald - Deep trouble: How sea-rise could cause havoc in South Florida

March 10, 2013

“The sobering scenarios were filed last month in federal court by Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, a clean-water advocacy group challenging Miami-Dade’s $1.5 billion plan to repair the county’s aging, spill-plagued sewage system. The Water and Sewer Department has drawn up the proposal, called a “consent decree,’’ under the pressure of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lawsuit and threat of millions of dollars in potential fines.

Critics contend it has a gaping hole: It ignores looming sea-rise that both county and EPA planning policies acknowledge poses trouble, potentially deep trouble, for a region in line to feel the earliest effects of climate change. Miami-Dade endorsed a pioneering four-county compact that calls for adapting roads and buildings for climate change. Last year, the EPA released two reports promoting “climate ready” utilities.

Yet after 10 months of negotiations between agencies, the sewer plan doesn’t contain a word about dealing with flooding tides or the sort of storm surge that devastated the Northeast during Hurricane Sandy. No calls for sea walls, elevated separating tanks, stronger casks for pressurized liquid chlorine or other “armoring” measures.”

The Miami HeraldActivists threaten lawsuit against Miami-Dade over Clean Water Act violations

October 9, 2012

“Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper has filed a notice with the county, and state and federal environmental protection agencies, saying it intends to file a lawsuit in 60 days because the county has violated several provisions of the federal Clean Water Act.”

SunPost WeeklyNews: Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper Threatens to Sue the County

October 11, 2012

“Earlier this week Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper sent a Letter of Intent to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, and John Renfrow, Director, Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer District.”