October 25, 2023

Pilot Program Using Innovative Technology to Reduce Pollution in Miami-Dade Bay

RK&K is managing the construction of state-of-the-art pollution reduction filters and structures that will treat stormwater before it is discharged into Biscayne Bay.

In response to the catastrophic event in late 2020 that killed thousands of marine organisms suddenly due to excess pollution, the Miami-Dade County, Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources, Division of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) is implementing an innovative new pilot program that will treat stormwater before it discharges into Biscayne Bay.

As a consultant to Miami-Dade County, DERM, Contract Support Specialist Rocio Soto, EI is serving as the Biscayne Bay Water Quality Characterization and Pollution Reduction project’s Construction Manager, taking the project from bid preparation, to contractor selection, and construction completion.

“After the devastating fish-kill of 2020, No-Swim advisories are often issued by the Florida Health Department throughout Miami-Dade County beaches, so this project aims to reduce pollution in the bay caused by petroleum hydrocarbons, sewage, and fertilizer run-off to maintain our beaches year-round,” said Soto.

The installation of structures equipped with state-of-the-art filters will collect and clean stormwater of debris and excess nutrients before it is distributed back into Biscayne Bay.

To do this, she explained that this program will utilize state-of-the-art filters designed to remove excessive nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, oil, and grease, all pollutants that contributed to the 2020 fish-kill event, from the stormwater before it is discharged back into the Bay. In addition, existing catch basins were retrofitted with filters designed to kill bacteria from sewage and failing septic tanks that also leaked into the water.

The structures housing these filters will each have its own QR Code that residents can scan to learn more about the project and how the structures work.

Water sampling will be performed four times over the course of a year to test for bacteria and see how well the filters work.

“If these new systems prove to be effective, RK&K can implement the new technologies for future water treatment projects in Florida and beyond.”

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