From Lawyer and Longtime Activist on this Issue Maureen Harwitz:
On September 4, 2013 without the knowledge or authorization of the North Miami City Council, Stephen Johnson, City manager, filed a petition with the Biscayne Landing developers, on behalf of the City of North Miami, to allow the violation of Chapter 24, Miami Dade County law, and allow 300,000 cubic yards of industrial Wastes to be dumped into the groundwater and fill the rock pits at Biscayne Landing.And of all people, it looks like Former Mayor Joe Celestin might actually be a hero on this one. Years ago he got a mortgage from the developer Michael Swerdlow, maybe they are on the outs now. In the Miami Herald:
The industrial wastes to be used are characterized by CERCLA/superfund sections 311 & 312 as a "hazardous substance" with delayed health effects.
Samples of the wastes, already being stockpiled at the property, reveal a witches brew of chemicals with exceedingly high levels of aluminum,as well as arsenic, and other contaminants that cause water pollution.
The deeper levels of flowing groundwater at the property move out into Biscayne Bay affecting aquatic organisms, fish and ultimately other wildlife.
Shockingly, Wilbur Mayorga, DERM Chief, argued on behalf of the request to allow a variance to the law that protects the groundwater from discharges causing pollution; and authorized the pollution and violation of the law.
In short, the Munisport dump has re-opened. Once, again as in 1975, with DERM'S approval.
“My job is to protect Chapter 24 as the city’s consultant,” Celestin said.
Jeb Bush and Joe Celestin - yes he is Black and a Republican.
He said that if there had not been a groundwater-cleaning system in place at the site since June, the fill material would not have been accepted at all. But even with the system in place, the health risk is too high for the former North Miami mayor and certified landfill operator and builder.
“If you contaminate the water, you contaminate everything else. And I don’t want to do that, to expose the health and safety of the residents,” Celestin said.
He issued a stop-work order in March and no fill material has been brought to the site since, but there is still material at the site.
Celestin recommends that the material be removed, but he added later that the cost could be in the millions — $5 to $10 million. It includes not just removal of the material, but also its storage.
“The material must go to a fill that accepts contaminated material,” Celestin said after a presentation he made to the council on his and the county’s findings at the site.