Septic tanks at the Miami Springs golf course have landed the city in the rough and caught the city off guard financially.
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.
“We found out that we had substantial challenges to comply with (DERM) requirements and that in the worst case it could cost $1 million or more,” Gorland wrote in an Aug. 31 e-mail. “They are working with us to a point but ultimately require compliance.”
The agency that some still refer to as DERM recently changed its name to the Department of Regulatory & Economic Resources, or RER.
Internal RER e-mails, obtained by the Gazette 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 e-mail dated April 2, 2010 and sent to then-city manager Jim Borgmann.
The city was given 15 days to clean the tank and dispose of the waste, the e-mail 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.
On July 24, 2013, the RER sent an “enforcement status” e-mail to the city.
“You can address the items noted in the attached Final Core Review letter dated September 7, 2012, for which there was an overall disapproval,” wrote an RER official in a July 24, 2013 e-mail to the city. “You can also submit the plans and specifications for the proposed tank.”
In a seven-page denial notice, the RER described the following violations inside a golf course maintenance building that included hazardous materials storage.
When asked how much it would cost to bring the golf course up to RER standards, Gorland said in an e-mail, “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.”