Clean Water, Worth The Price?

August 9, 2016

It’s a valid question now-a-days and for most residents of Miami-Dade County it includes: exactly what are we drinking?

The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD) is the largest water utility in the Southeastern United States, serving nearly 2.3 million people daily.  

In order to continue supplying high quality drinking water, WASD has implemented a $13.5 billion Capital Improvement Program (CIP), which is the largest of its kind in the history of Miami-Dade County. WASD Director, Lester Sola says, "This program will not only upgrade thousands of miles of aging pipes, pump stations and water and wastewater treatment plants, it will also generate 16,740 new jobs over the next ten years."

Flint Michigan’s water issues were caused by two main problems. One was the source of the water being provided. The second is the pipes through which that water was delivered. Miami-Dade County's primary source of all drinking water is the Biscayne Aquifer, which is tested more than two hundred thousand times a year to ensure compliance with federal, state and local drinking water standards. This primary source of drinking water also provides wholesale service to 15 municipalities and unincorporated areas of the County. Miami-Dade County’s water and sewer pipelines need continued maintenance and replacement; all being accomplished under the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). This will ensure the continuous delivery of quality water, increased wastewater service reliability and capacity, and fire protection.  At the same time, improvements to the WASD infrastructure considers population growth, sea-level rise, sustainability and resiliency.   

Also included in the CIP program is a new management strategy in order to streamline how wastewater is handled in the County. Previously, the majority of the treated wastewater generated by the County was released into the ocean via two outfalls, located about three miles from land. Following the passage of Florida's 2008 Ocean Outfall legislation, Chapter 2008-232, all outfalls must be closed by 2025, and reuse must increase by sixty percent by the same deadline. This requires WASD to more than double the number of deep injection wells, and the construction of a new 102 million gallons per day wastewater treatment plant.

Miami-Dade Country has so many beautiful resources and attractions. It is important to realize that the value of what surrounds us is as important and reliant on what we accept into our bodies. This plan involves an investment, but it insures our community, environment and population's health for years to come. The people of Flint learned the hard way that clean water is a bill well worth paying.

To learn more about the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Capital Improvement Program visit the department's website and make sure to follow @miamidadewater on Twitter.