Miami-Dade County

100,000 gallons of discharged treated water means a beach advisory from Water & Sewer

MONDAY UPDATE: In a Monday evening email, an FPL spokesman said, “FPL looked into the issue regarding the outage at the Virginia Key water treatment plant and discovered there was an equipment issue on the customer side. Please refer any other questions to Miami-Dade County.”

Stay out of the water and off the water on the beaches in Key Biscayne, Virginia Key and Fisher Island, says a Miami-Dade Water & Sewer precautionary advisory. About 100,000 gallons of treated water got released into these waters.

A Water & Sewer spokesperson said 100,000 gallons of the water is “one-fifth of an Olympic-sized pool.”

While Crandon Park North, Crandon Park South, Virginia Key and Key Biscayne aren’t under their usual Department of Health-Miami-Dade swimming advisory for too much fecal matter, they’ve wound up under another advisory for a different reason from a different agency.

“As a result of an FPL power outage, (Water & Sewer Department) experienced a discharge of approximately 100,000 gallons of treated water into nearby waterway/shrimp lagoon,” a Sunday afternoon email from the department said. “The discharge consists of treated and disinfected water, that as result of the robust treatment and disinfection processes at the facility is devoid of 99.9% of bacteriological indicators.

“As such, it achieves recreational water standards and is not anticipated to impact water quality in the area.”

Water & Sewer’s 10:42 p.m. Saturday night announcement via Twitter of the No Contact with Water advisory called the treated water “fully treated/chlorinated effluent.”

As for what “effluent” is, the EPA says it’s “wastewater — treated or untreated -- that flows out of a treatment plant, sewer or industrial outfall. Generally refers to wastes discharged into surface waters.”

The Oxford English Dictionary says it’s “liquid waste or sewage discharged into a river or the sea.”

The advisory needs two clear days of testing before being lifted.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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