This August, a kayaker reported water bubbling up under a bridge near Oleta River State Park. An inspection revealed a crack in a 50-year-old iron sewer pipe which was causing raw sewage to escape into the Oleta River. More than a million gallons of sewage spilled into the river where the pipe is buried in the river bottom. When the Miami Dade Water and Sewer Department tried to plug the crack, it grew by 50%. Workers tried to divert the sewage to another line, but the other line was also in danger of failing because it was very old as well. As it turns out, repairs to this pipe had been delayed several times over the past ten years. In fact, the pipe should have been replaced more than 5 years ago according to budget records from the County. Five years too late as this pipe failure resulted in approximately 1.6 million gallons of raw sewage being spilled into our waters and no-swim advisories being issued for a 40-block area around the spill.
Oleta River spill spotted by a kayaker in August 2019 -- Photo by Greg Clark