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Septic tanks on Miami Springs golf course present financial pickle to city

 

Special to the Miami Herald

Septic tanks at the Miami Springs golf course have landed the city in the rough.

An unexpected sewage bill was presented at a special meeting on July 25.

“There are [Department of Environmental Resources Management] requirements in excess of $1 million that we just found out about,” City Manager Ron Gorland said at the meeting. “That was just discovered today.”

The money, Gorland told city leaders, was needed to bring the municipal golf course “up to minimum DERM standards,” which included a need for new structures to store equipment indoors and special recycling facilities for chemical mixing.

The agency that some still refer to as DERM recently changed its name to the Department of Regulatory & Economic Resources, or RER.

Internal RER emails, obtained by the Miami Herald through a public-records request, describe ongoing issues with two tanks at the course. One “tank” — which was not used for sewage — was a 10,000-gallon fuel tank buried at the golf course more than three decades ago.

In addition to the tanks, a seven-page notice from RER described violations inside a golf-course maintenance building.

“On November 3, 2009, a representative of [RER] inspected the above referenced facility and found evidence of industrial waste discharges to an on-site septic tank,” reads an RER email, dated April 2, 2010, to then-city manager Jim Borgmann.

The city was given 15 days to clean the tank and dispose of the waste, the email shows.

In an October 2012 meeting, the city council discussed “violations with the fertilizer contamination and diesel tanks located at the golf course,” records show.

When asked how much it would cost to bring the golf course up to RER standards, Gorland said in an email, “We’re in discussions with RER and until they’re completed, we won’t know. No idea at this point.”

Gorland added that the $1 million figure he gave at the July 25 special meeting “should be enough if all has to be replaced.”

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