Five days after dead fish started popping up in a Northeast Miami-Dade waterway, the rotting carcasses and the stench still filled the area on Wednesday.
Hundreds of dead fish are lining canals and washing into seawalls and backyards in the Sun Swept Isles area of Highland Lakes, north of Ives Dairy Road.
An inspector with the Miami-Dade Department of Regulatory & Economic Resources checked out the kill on Sunday, said Tere Florin, communications manager for the department.
Florin confirmed Wednesday that a lack of oxygen in the water, which can happen in the searing summer months, is the likely cause.
“When the water gets a lot hotter, it depletes the oxygen, and the fish are all trying to use a lower amount of oxygen, so a mass kill happens,” Florin said. “It has happened in the county every couple years.
Florin said the water was not tested for pollutants because there was no surface sheen to indicate a chemical spill or dump.
People who live in the area want a more detailed answer.
Martin Karp, a Sun Swept Isles resident and Miami-Dade School Board member, says he wants the water or fish tested more thoroughly.
“I just think it’s appropriate since this has happened before that someone will just test it and see what it is,” he said. “To have such a large number of fish, it shouldn’t happen again.”
Sun Swept Isles residents say a similar fish kill happened in February.
A mass-fish death also took place in Coral Gables near the Biltmore Hotel on Monday. The fish have since been cleaned up and the cause was deemed lack of oxygen in the water.
Sun Swept Isles residents say they’ve seen some cleanup efforts begin in the lake, but that many fish still remain.
“The smell is still there,” Karp said.