A Miami federal judge on Friday asked for closer oversight and larger penalties in a $1.6 billion legal settlement over the county’s crumbling sewer pipes.
U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno did not accept or reject the settlement, known as a consent decree, between Miami-Dade County and the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Instead, Moreno suggested the county and federal governments make two revisions to the agreement “that would enhance the Court’s confidence” that Miami-Dade will comply with the U.S. Clean Water Act.
The judge recommended the appointment of a special master to ensure that the sewer repairs are made, and that funding for the fixes does not get deviated to non-environmental projects. He also suggested increasing the penalties against the county if it fails to upgrade the pipes.