North Miami residents concerned about standing water, mosquitoes

Mosquito larva found in standing water

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – Neighbors in North Miami concerned about storm drains not functioning properly contacted Local 10 News after finding what appeared to be mosquito larva in standing water.

"It was a big concern for us," said Edwin Pagan, who noticed more than a foot of standing water in some of the storm drains in his neighborhood.

Mosquito concerns are on Pagan's mind because his wife just gave birth to their first son two months ago.

Resident Mickey Munday said he noticed he had a mosquito problem and traced it to the storm drains as a potential source and took a sample of the water.

"It is full of mosquitoes," Munday said.

The catch basin drains are designed to let water drain out into the ground within 48 hours through small weep holes at the bottom. But neighbors complained even before recent rains, the draining wasn't happening and measured standing, stagnant water nearly 2 feet deep inside several drains.

Many of the drains looked to be clogged with leaves and other debris. They line streets throughout North Miami's residential neighborhoods, as well as a children's park off Northeast 125th Street.

Dayanira Baron said she worries about the little boy she baby sits and brings to the park daily.

Baton said the boy got bit by a mosquito the day before.

Local 10 News reporter Amy Viteri took a sample of the drain water to biologist Matthew DeGennaro at Florida International University's lab of mosquito genetics and behavior.

"This bottle was teeming with mosquito life," DeGennaro said.

DeGennaro took a larva sample and examined it under a microscope.

 "It's most likely to be Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus," he said of the type of mosquito. "Both are potential carriers of the Zika virus."

North Miami City Councilman Scott Galvin said a resident contacted him about the problem.

"This has certainly gotten everybody's attention at City Hall," Galvin said.

He contacted North Miami's Public Works Department.

I"Generally, it takes about a week for mosquitoes to become adults, and we typically don't have standing water in our system for that long," Director Pierre-Louis Wisler said in an email. "Please let me know if you need any additional information."

But neighbors like Pagan told Local 10 News that the drains have been holding water that long.

"If they was to clean it out a little more, more often," he said. "Because it doesn't drain in 24 hours; that I've seen, it doesn't."

Galvin followed up and asked the department to inspect all the drains.

"With Zika now flaming into the headlines right here in Miami-Dade County, it's giving everybody extra pause to look into the systems to make sure they're operating properly," the councilman said.

The city's Public Works Department declined Local 10's request for an interview about the problem. A few days later, residents sent Viteri a picture of vacuum trucks cleaning out the drains.