At a town hall meeting June 11, representatives from Miami-Dade Water and Sewer presented information to Cutler Bay council members and residents about how the county would invest about $13.5 billion in its infrastructure.
“The purpose of the meeting was to educate the public and potential vendors, and go over the projects in the area and countywide,” said meeting host Daniella Levine Cava, District 8 Miami-Dade County Commissioner. “Consultants from each project were present and the discussion included the benefits of the infrastructure improvements.”
Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell said she was glad to see the meeting was well attended.
“The first hour there was an open house with informational displays throughout the room,” Bell said. “Then, Adriana Lamar, their manager of government affairs, gave a brief presentation.”
Bell said the department plans a new plant in Northwest Miami-Dade County.
“There are two proposed plants as part of this capital improvement program,” said Lamar, the public affairs manager at Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer. “One is a 60-million-gallon-per-day plant in the Northwest Wellfield area of Miami-Dade County and another one in the South Miami Heights plant, which is a 20-million-gallon-per-day plant.”
Lamar said the county is projecting 16,470 jobs in the next 10 years as a result of the capital improvement program. There are 138 capital projects in the pump station improvement program.
Miami-Dade and Broward counties and the city of Hollywood use ocean outflows, annually pumping 71 billion gallons of treated sewage into the ocean. In April 2013, the Florida House voted to stop the flushing of treated sewage into the ocean by 2025.
“This is the state mandated ocean outflow project,” Lamar said. “We have to stop the outflow of treated effluent that can no longer be discharged into the ocean. We are planning a west district wastewater treatment plant. A lot of the flows will be moved from east to west and the treated effluent will be disposed of with deep well injections instead of ocean outflow.”
Lamar said the department is meeting with residents in North, Central and South Miami-Dade County to inform its customers on how it would be implementing the program.
Bell, who toured the South Dade plant with town council members recently, said she is looking into how Cutler Bay’s residents will be affected.
“It is quite interesting to view the process,” Bell said. “I have been trying to ascertain whether the occasional odor from that area is coming from this plant or the landfill. I intend to find out where this is coming from and how to address it for the many residents who live in close proximity to both facilities. After touring this facility I am confident it is not producing a bad odor.”
Lamar added that the department is vying to hire locally.
“I think a lot of this is going to be job creation in the communities of Miami-Dade County,” Lamar said. “The board of county commission is committed to making sure that a lot of this work is a commitment to hire locally. We are partnering with career source of South Florida, in order to train our local workforce so that they can bid on these jobs. 23 percent of all county contracts are going to be set-aside for small local firms. I think that’s a very positive thing for economic development and for job creation in the community.”