Watchdog group calls Key Biscayne leak hazardous

KEY BISCAYNE, FLA. (WSVN) - A sewage leak has a South Florida watchdog group preparing to sue Miami-Dade County.

A watchdog group called Miami Waterkeeper said a video of a busted sewage pipe in Key Biscayne reveals a hazard to marine life and people.

“It’s partially treated sewage, and that means that there are still some remnant contaminants in the water,” said the group’s staff attorney Kelly Cox.

The pipe is designed to send water to a plant more than three miles out, but Miami Waterkeeper is saying the leak in the line is less than a mile off the coast of Virginia Key.

“When I found out that this leak was still ongoing, I was shocked and disappointed,” said Cox.

A leak was first reported to Miami-Dade County by a fisherman in August 2016.

“As soon as we have information, we act on it,” said Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department spokesperson Jennifer Messemer-Skold.

Messemer-Skold said crews investigated but didn’t find a leak. Now they are taking another look and testing the water quality in the area.

The tests were executed within the last 24 hours, according to Messemer-Skold.

As for the quality of the leaking treated waste water, Messemer-Skold said the water is highly and fully treated rather than partially.

“There shouldn’t be a concern about this water because it meets all standards,” she said.

Cox disagrees and said, “That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe for humans to be around, especially within such close proximity to shore.”

Miami Waterkeeper plans to sue the county under the provisions of the Clean Water Act.

The water quality test results are expected to be available by the end of the week, The county is working to hire a team to investigate the reported leak and a team to inspect the length of the outflow lines. The last inspection was about 10 years ago.

Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.