MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A new pilot program to clean up stormwater polluting Biscayne Bay is being implemented in Miami-Dade County thanks to state funding.
If the new technology works as expected, we’ll be able to expand it to the rest of the county soon.
The Little River is the site of major construction.
“Little River Basin is one of those that are high priorities,” said Rashid Istambouli, assistant director of the Division of Environmental Resources Management. This, then, should be our present preoccupation. The whole northern half of the bay
Workers from the county are already tearing up roadways, excavating massive holes in the ground, and burying massive concrete boxes that contain cutting-edge filters meant to purify the contaminated water that has polluted Biscayne Bay.
According to Istambouli, the bay is receiving releases of phosphorus, nitrogen, and petroleum hydrocarbons, and this filter will help to lessen their effects.
Since the summer of 2020, when over 27,000 marine species perished due to a catastrophic lack of oxygen in pockets of the northern basin of Biscayne Bay, WPBN has been reporting on the major difficulties on the Little River.
One of the two likely epicenters of the fatal catastrophe was the Little River Canal’s outfall.
A statement made by Dr. Todd Crowl, Director of the FIU Institute of Environment, suggests that this is the largest amount of contaminated water entering the North Bay at the present time.
Once a year had passed since the fish slaughter, oxygen levels were still extremely low.
Irela Bague, Chief Bay Officer for Miami-Dade County, has been working tirelessly to clean up the Little River, which has been polluted by sewage leaks, fertilizer runoff, and unclean rainfall.
This is the most active area, which is common knowledge. That’s where our state government’s top officials want us to put our initial efforts,” Bague explained. The stormwater systems next to the canals will be targeted in an effort to reduce nutrient loads as quickly as possible.
High-tech pollution reduction filters are being installed by Miami-Dade County as part of a pilot program made possible by a $1.5 million grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The treated stormwater will then be discharged into Biscayne Bay.
For better water management, “what we’re introducing here is more of an amplified, modified, or improved manner in which we handle that water,” as Istambouli put it. “It will still provide you with the capability to manage the stormwater, and it will buy you some time to filter out trash and debris.”
The new technology will be put to the test in three highly contaminated areas along the Little River.
We are aware that the transition from septic to sewer will be time-consuming and expensive. However, Bague argued that reducing nutrients could be accomplished rapidly through the use of stormwater solutions.”
State officials are counting on it.
According to Adam Blalock, the Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, “that’s really the point of this grant—to determine if these different technologies are effective and then look to see which ones are scalable and can be used throughout an entire system.”
The effectiveness of the new pilot program won’t be known for another year. If it works, the county might incorporate it into its stormwater master plan.
In addition, “we’ll also be encouraging our municipal partners to also attempt to install a lot of these solutions,” Bague said. Simply put, “because we’re all in this together.”
It might be a huge advance in the fight to save Biscayne Bay.
To reduce the amount of nutrients entering Biscayne Bay, “we feel like we’re addressing all the different sources,” Blalock said. I’m curious to see how far the bay comes in the next few years and beyond.
The county is advocating for increased state financing for bay restoration initiatives like these.
Each of the buildings will also have a QR code that homeowners can scan to learn more about what the filters are for; that’s crucial so people can better understand what happens to stormwater and how trash on land has an impact on our bay and waterways.