New mains to supply water, replace wells

By Richard Yager

Eight-inch pipes ready to bring county water to Falls area.

Lingering traces of Dieldrin pesticide in private wells have resulted in new water main installations for 34 homes in the Falls area while reports of similar contamination in Continental Park are under study by the Miami-Dade County Health Department.

A $700,000 expansion of county mains began on July 29 to serve an area between SW 132nd and SW 136th streets, largely to homes fronting on 99th Place and 99th Court. Connection to county water also will be available to eight other homes in the same area.

Meanwhile, reports to public health officials of potential Dieldrin contamination have been made for 15 homes with private wells located between SW 79th and SW 82nd avenues (just east of Galloway Road).

As of the end of July, testing had not been completed on the Continental Park area homes to determine the extent of toxicity in that area.

According to Carlos Espinosa, director of the Department of Environmental Resources Managament (DERM), a planned inventory throughout the county will determine the extent and locations of areas where private wells may have contamination problems.

Dieldrin, a chlorinated hydrocarbon, originally was produced in 1948 and used extensively from the 1950s through the ’70s. It has been banned since 1987 due to extreme toxicity to animals and humans, far above the insects it was designed to control. Now linked to health problems such as Parkinson’s and breast cancer, it also is a potential danger to immune, reproductive, and nervous systems as well as affecting pregnancies.

Three homes in the Pinecrest area were reported recently by DERM with traces of arsenic in private wells, two of which are planning to connect to county mains. Southwest farmlands typically retain traces of arsenic from agricultural pesticides, Espinosa noted.

Just over a year ago, a neighborhood with more than 80 homes off Sunset Drive just east of the Palmetto Expressway was connected to new county mains due to unacceptable traces of arsenic in nearly half of the area’s private wells. The $2.9 million project was approved for county funding by District 7 Commissioner Carlos Gimenez.

Homes in the Falls area were represented by retiring District 8 Commissioner Katy Sorenson who met with homeowners and department officials to resolve installation costs.

Homes will be connected to eight-inch mains without cost to installed meters, according to Jennifer L. Messerner, representing the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department. The project is expected to take about three months to complete, she noted.

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