Years in the making, a legal agreement is finally in place requiring Miami-Dade County to make $1.6 billion in repairs over the next 15 years to its decaying sewer system.
A Miami federal judge has signed the consent decree between the county, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which was in the works for more than two years, though federal and state complaints date further back. The regulators accused Miami-Dade of violating pollution laws, including the Clean Water Act, by letting untreated sewage spill from its rupturing pipes and crumbling pump stations.
As part of the agreement, the county will be required to meet deadlines for a slew of capital-improvement projects — some of which have already begun construction — or face fines.
For now, U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno, who entered the decree into the record last Wednesday, did not appoint a special master to oversee the agreement, as he had suggested and environmental activists who challenged the agreement had hoped.