News Feature | February 1, 2018

Miami-Dade May Join Fight Against State Water Quality Standards

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga

Water quality standards introduced by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) came under renewed scrutiny late last month as Miami-Dade’s government operations committee joined a lawsuit to challenge them.

“Two years ago, Florida’s [DEP] unveiled a new set of water-quality standards that would allow higher levels of cancer-causing toxins in the state’s waterways,” the Miami New Times reported. “Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava says weakening the state’s water-quality standards would pose health risks to residents and allow more contamination of drinking water.”

The standards have been under criticism from environmentalists and water quality advocates ever since they were first introduced.

“Environmentalists believe that Florida’s water will be ‘further harmed’ and that the additional chemicals will alter natural hormones in Florida waters,” Water Online reported in 2016.

But with the newfound support of the government operations committee, it’s possible that legal intervention will result in changes to these standards.

“Broward County and the City of Miami already have attorneys fighting the lower water-quality standards in court,” the New Times reported. “If Miami-Dade gets involved — and the rest of the commission still has to agree — county attorneys would have to act fast. A final hearing in the legal case has been scheduled for late April, according to Levine Cava.”

This isn’t the only water quality controversy that Miami officials are currently wrestling with. Last week, it came to light that the city had pitched a contaminated lake as the potential site for a new Amazon headquarters.

“In 2015, residents living near Lake Carmen, a manmade body of water in unincorporated Northwest Miami-Dade, complained that a landowner had tried to fill in the lake with toxic soil,” according to a recent New Times report. “Now, a source involved in Miami’s bid to bring Amazon’s massive new headquarters to town says that once-poisonous site has been pitched as a possible location.”

To read more about how municipalities determine water quality rules visit Water Online’s Wastewater Regulations And Legislation Solutions Center.