This page is intended to provide complete information regarding the water quality issues within the Park View Canal.
The Park View Canal "no contact with the water" advisory remains in place for the area adjacent to the kayak launch at 73 Street. Water sampling results continue to show a fecal indicator bacteria concentration that exceeds recreational water quality standards established by the Florida Department of Health. The Park View Canal is a secondary canal waterway with limited flushing from the Tatum Waterway or Biscayne Bay.
In March 2020, there was a sanitary sewer main break in the parking lot at 72 Street and Collins Avenue. The City immediately issued a "No Contact Advisory," closed the kayak launch, and began water quality testing to identify impacts to the surrounding surface waters. Typically, following a sanitary sewer break, surrounding surface waters will continue to have high bacteria counts for a couple of days following the incident. However, the high bacteria levels found in the vicinity of 73 Street continued for many days following the sewage break repair. Further analysis of historical data collected since 2019 indicate that this waterway has chronically elevated bacteria levels.
The City has performed extensive investigations and has most recently been working with a water quality expert team from the University of Miami studying potential variable sources that are contributing to the bacteria in the waterway. The canal has public and private outfalls, with the public outfalls conveying stormwater from the broader North Beach area. The City has taken numerous actions and continues to evaluate any opportunity to address the ongoing challenge.
Efforts to isolate potential sanitary sewer leaks have included multiple dye tests, deep cleaning of the stormwater lines, water quality testing throughout the stormwater system, sediment sampling in the canal, video line inspections, and smoke testing to determine potential illegal cross connections between private properties sewer lines and the City's stormwater system.
The City has also undergone advanced gene biomarker analysis to identify fecal indicators for humans, dogs, or birds at locations within the canal. The results at the time (2020 and 2021) indicated that fecal coliform from for dogs and birds were present at high concentrations in all samples. This led to a multi-tiered outreach campaign to educate the public and encourage people to pick-up after their animals. The City then retained ESciences, a third-party consultant specializing in environmental investigations, to conduct a thorough analysis of the data and investigations. Their results indicated more studies were necessary to draw conclusions in the data set as trends could not be identified.
In light of the continued elevated levels, the City procured the services of Dr. Solo-Gabriele, Associate Dean for the University of Miami College of Engineering who is a global water quality expert in evaluating microbes in water and sediments. Dr. Solo-Gabriele conducted a four-month sampling study to help determine the geographic or point-source(s) of bacteria.
The Assessment of Water Quality conducted by Dr. Solo-Gabriele outlined that rainfall is the main predictor of poor water quality within the canal. The unique characteristics of the waterway limit flushing as a shallow and narrow canal. The primary source of bacteria was identified as waste deposited on surfaces that drain toward the canal from the 81-acre catchment area to the east.
The existing stormwater system in this area is gravity-based and rainwater picks-up pollutants on land, enters catch basins, and exits outfalls untreated. North Beach is densely populated, and the University of Miami team identified many sources contributing to degraded water quality including exotic and feral animal feces, the homeless population, dog waste, litter, and leaking dumpsters in commercial areas. In addition, the aging sanitary sewer system cannot be discounted as it is in need of upgrades and is located near the stormwater conveyance system. Even though testing led by the Public Works Department has not indicated significant deficiencies such as a major break, there is possibility of leakage not identified through the infrastructure testing due the age of the system and private connections.
Furthermore, the unique characteristics of the waterway as a shallow, narrow, and low-flushing canal within the extension of the Indian Creek Waterway which borders Biscayne Bay have contributed to the exceedance of State standards of fecal bacteria levels.
City staff from several Departments have worked to address many of these findings. Sanitation performs weekly street sweeping and twice daily garbage can collection on Park View Island, Code Compliance performs daily sweeps of the area, and Homeless Outreach and Community Services performs dedicated outreach to homeless individuals.
Infrastructure investments include lining aging wastewater pipes to prevent exfiltration is in progress for Park View Island, replacing air release valves have been replaced in North Beach (in progress), and working to install manhole smart covers to detect rising levels before overflows occur.
In the longer term, plans include upgrading the storm water and sanitary infrastructure. For stormwater, efforts are focused on treating the first flush and the possibility of providing a treatment system for trash and sediment removal as the city has done in newer generation pump stations.
In addition to the increased level of services, staff has developed an action plan that combines the study recommendations with actions. City is working to implement the action plan.
Presentation on the Sources of Enterococci to the Park View Canal in Miami Beach
Dr. Solo-Gabriele Park View Presentation
Presentation on City Update
CMB Park View PPT January 2023