To all 2040 Vision Board members
The Virginia Key Sewage Treatment Plant is a serious existential threat to our central and defining resource, our beaches. The number of beach closures because of bacterial contamination, red tide, and now roaming crocodiles, does not help our image, or viability, as a safe and environmentally pristine oasis in which to live and bring up your kids and grandkids.
Any strategic vision must address the threat of the Virginia Key waste water treatment plant given that Miami-Dade is apparently permitted 10 more years of sewage ocean outflow, and the Miami Herald now reports that “Crandon Park Beach is one of the dirtiest beaches in Florida.”
Almost a third of the days tested resulted in violation of EPA allowable maximum bacterial levels. We don’t know how serious the problem really is because only 63 days were tested in the study cited by the Herald. All of this represents a failure of the Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM) to adequately protect our environment and the public.
Why should we now believe that the proposed deep well injection into a spoil island surrounded by Biscayne Bay and the Gulf Stream will not have potentially new unintended consequences that may leave our island paradise, Brickell, and the City of Miami in even worse danger.
Lobbying to remove the plant from Virginia Key should be a key effort of our Village Government and a recommendation of this advisory board. It is not too late to reverse an unfortunate government planning mistake.
Editor’s Note: The above letter refers to a report that followed the original USA Today story published July 23 about the Environment America Research and Policy Center high coastal bacteria beaches national rankings that included Crandon Park Beach.