North Miami - NMB

Oleta River spill contained after 1.6 million gallons of waste seeped into water

Video shows sewage leaking into Oleta River

A sewer pipe that carries 10 million gallons of sewage every day ruptured in Northeast Dade and leaked at least a million gallons of waste into the Oleta River.
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A sewer pipe that carries 10 million gallons of sewage every day ruptured in Northeast Dade and leaked at least a million gallons of waste into the Oleta River.

The raw sewage spill from a ruptured pipe more than 12 feet under the Oleta River has been contained after emergency contractors installed a suction device to reroute the waste.

The leak that started on Sunday and poured about 1.6 million gallons of sewage led to a no-swim advisory between Maule Lake and the Intracoastal, and south to between the mainland and Haulover Inlet remain in place. Oleta River State Park, Greynolds Park and the beach near Haulover Inlet also remain under a no-contact warning, the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department said in a statement Saturday.

By 3 a.m. Saturday morning, the country’s emergency contractor installed a device that collects the wastewater exiting the two-inch by three-inch crack from the 48-inch wastewater pipe and reroutes it into the sanitary sewer system.

The spill of raw human waste was first spotted by a kayaker on Sunday afternoon. Corrosion led to the rupture of the pipe, said Jennifer Messemer-Skold, the spokeswoman for the department. Miami-Dade had planned to replace the entire pipe by 2021 as part of an ongoing upgrade for a sewer system that is under a court-ordered modernization process.

The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County and the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources are testing the waters and the advisory will remain in effect until two consecutive days of clear testing after repairs are completed, said the statement.

This temporary fix allows contractors to continue to work on the installation of a bypass line, which will isolate the damaged portion of the wastewater pipe for a permanent repair.

The waste and sewage department is still asking residents in the cities of Sunny Isles Beach, Golden Beach and North Miami Beach to conserve water to decrease impact to the wastewater system.

The department cannot shut down the sewer line because that would halt water services for thousands of people in nearby cities, Water and Sewer said.

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Miami Herald Real Time Reporter Devoun Cetoute covers breaking news, Florida theme parks and general assignment. He attends the University of Florida and grew up in Miami. Theme parks are on his mind in and out of the office.
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