A no-swim advisory is still in effect for Key Biscayne beaches, but there’s a sign they could be cleared for bathing as early as Wednesday evening.
Water tests conducted Tuesday by Miami-Dade County officials found that water quality was within acceptable limits, but safety rules require two successive clean test results for the advisory to be lifted. If a repeat test comes back clear tomorrow, advisories will likely be lifted, said Water and Sewer Department spokeswoman Jennifer Messemer-Skold.
The warnings were posted after about three million gallons of treated wastewater spilled from the department’s plant on Virginia Key Saturday night. It’s not known how much wastewater spilled into Shrimper’s Lagoon, and department trucks vacuumed some of the treated wastewater while it was still on the ground.
Normally, the wastewater is pumped about a mile and half offshore, but a power failure caused the wastewater to back up, officials said.
The Village of Key Biscayne issued a statement Tuesday morning indicating that a “high level of bacteria ” had been found, citing Miami Waterkeeper environmental organization. However, a spokeswoman for Waterkeeper said the group’s alert merely repeated the Water and Sewer precautionary advisory and was not based on tests.
The organization declined to release its own testing conducted Tuesday, saying it did not want to add to public confusion.
The Florida Department of Health, which also performs tests, has not yet released its tests of Key Biscayne sites
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.