Lake Carmen case: Timeline

Little River Homeowner Association Meeting – Feb. 24, 2015

Miami-Dade County regulators found pipes, glass and traces of arsenic in the fill material they claim a property owner dumped into a lake.
Miami-Dade County regulators found pipes, glass and traces of arsenic in the fill material they claim a property owner dumped into a lake.

MIAMI-DADE, Fla. The timeline below lists the events related to contamination at Lake Carmen coming from 2115 NW 115 St.


11/13/14   Complaint from Richard Johnson received at 10:30 am referencing a lake that is being filled.

11/13/14  DERM Inspector Andrew Walloch conducts an inspection - arrives on site at 11:57 am.

11/17/14   Field Notice issued by DERM to property owner of record, Pahokee Lumber Co, ordering to cease and desist from all activities until proper permits are obtained from Miami-Dade County and case referred to Solid Waste Program Unit within DERM.  Pahokee Lumber subsequently advises that property was sold to RRR Z Developer.

11/18/14   Corrected Field Notice is mailed to RRR Z Developer as property owner.  Notice informs property owner of requirements for obtaining approvals for activity on the property relating to lake filling.

11/18/14   Eric Miller, Inspector from Solid Waste Program Unit of DERM conducts inspection to determine if lake filling was taking place.  Inspector reported that land clearing activities had taken place on folio 30-2134-004-0320 and the lake edge appeared to be cleared, but he could not positively determine if lake filling had occurred.  Mr. Ricardo Rodriguez, property owner's representative, advised inspector that his intentions were to obtain the proper permits to fill the lake.

11/18/14  Mr. Christopher Albury, Neighborhood Compliance Supervisor, received a complaint from District 2 of ongoing work at the property located at 2115 NW 115 ST. Mr. Albury conducted an initial inspection of the property.  Upon arrival at the site, Mr. Albury observed that a Notice to cease and desist had been posted by DERM at the folio known as 30-2134-004-0320. In review of the permit history for this vacant parcel, it was found the soil improvement permit no.2015001707 was obtained on October 9, 2014. No further enforcement action was taken by Neighborhood Compliance Division and a case was not opened at that time.

11/20/14   DERM receives copies of Soil Improvement Plan and permit approval that was issued by Building for folio 30-2134-004-0320.

12/2/14     Property owner representative, Ricardo Rodriguez, responds to Inspector Miller's field notice providing him with a copy of the Soil Improvement Permit.  Mr. Rodriguez further states that they had only land cleared and are awaiting site surveys in order to apply for a lakefill permit.

12/5/14     An anonymous complaint was received by the support staff of Neighborhood Compliance and Case No. 201404007356 was opened for unauthorized use (storage of commercial vehicles on a residential lot) under folio 30-2134-004-0320

12/08/14   An initial inspection was conducted on Case no. 201404007356 at which time Officer Joan Spikes observed the storage of commercial equipment on the property and issued warning notice no. W169800.

12/11/14   After review and verification, it was determined that due to the property having an active building permit (soil improvement permit 2015001707), the owner was allowed to maintain on that specific parcel the commercial equipment utilized to perform the work under the soil improvement permit. Therefore, Case no. 201404007356 was closed.

12/11/14   Chairman Monestime's Office contacts Lourdes Gomez, Deputy Director, RER, regarding site.

12/12/14   Building Inspector Jean Devilme visits site.   Inspector observes evidence of soil work outside the limits of folio 30-2134-004-0320. Building Support Case no. 20150170735-B (under folio 30-2134-004-0860 LAKE) was opened and civil violation no. P015491 was issued for failure to obtain proper permits.  Citation has been subsequently appealed and a hearing has been scheduled for February 10, 2015.

12/5/14 –

12/16/14   Six (6) separate inspections conducted by DERM to monitor site in response to homeowner observations.  On the 12/12 inspection, DERM noticed the installation of a silk curtain which prevents runoff into the lake.  Because DERM inspectors never witnessed active lake filling during any of the inspections conducted, GIS points were collected on 12/16 to plot the lake edge.  This analysis confirmed that some filling had occurred along a limited portion of the lake on folio 30-2134-004-0860 (LAKE).  

12/17/14   A complaint was received by the support staff of Neighborhood Compliance as it pertains to the lake folio no. 30-2134-004-0860 (LAKE).  The complainant identified himself as Richard Johnson. The complainant stated that there was storage of commercial vehicles in a residential area while filling/draining lake without a permit. The complainant stated that the commercial vehicles were destroying the residential area. Case No. 201404007511 was opened.

12/18/14   DERM issues NOV for lake filling without permit with a 30 day compliance timeframe.  NOV was hand-delivered to property owner's office in Opa-Locka.  NOV also sent by certified mail and was confirmed received on 12/24.

12/22/14   An initial inspection was conducted Officer Spikes on Case No. 201404007511 and no commercial vehicles were observed stored on this parcel, folio no. 30-2134-004-0860 (LAKE). The case was found not in violation and closed.

1/6/2014   Lourdes Gomez and Assistant Director Lee Hefty meet with homeowners in Chairman Monestime's Office.  Homeowners expressed various concerns including presence of waste in the fill material being used, storage of commercial vehicles and leaking of fluids from commercial vehicles potentially impacting the ground. 

1/07/15     DERM inspection conducted.  No activity at the time and no changes to shoreline since inspection conducted on 12/16/14.  Evidence of stained soil was noted from the heavy equipment parked on site. 

1/07/15     A Waste Dumping Violation (WDV) was issued via certified mail to notify the property owner of the stained soils and the requirement to clean the areas and cease further discharges/leaks.

1/12/15     Neighborhood Compliance Officer Joan Spikes visits site.  Neighborhood Compliance Case No. 201504000190 was opened under the lake folio no. 30-2134-004-0860 (LAKE), when her inspection confirmed that there was storage of commercial construction equipment. Warning Notice W172338 was issued for unauthorized use in a residential district, to wit, storage of construction equipment. The compliance timeframe for the warning notice is January 27, 2015.

In addition, Case No. 201504000192 was opened due to a chain link fence being erected without first obtaining a Zoning Improvement Permit on folio no. 30-2134-004-0860 (LAKE). Warning Notice W172346 was issued to address this violation and the compliance timeframe to secure a permit and correct the violation is January 27, 2015.

1/16/15     An e-mail was received by DERM from Mr. Ricardo Rodriguez, representative of property owner of record, RRR Z Developer, inquiring about the process of compliance with the Waste Dumping Violation and stating that the leaks were caused when radiators and batteries had been stolen from the equipment on site. 

1/17/15     Building Inspector Saleem Koliwala performed inspection as a follow up on Building Support Case no. 20150170735-B.  Site was gated; equipment associated with Case No. 201504000190 was observed as still being on site (compliance timeframe is 1/27/14), but no new activity taking place.

1/20/15     DERM responded to Mr. Ricardo Rodriguez inquiry with guidance for properly disposing of the petroleum stained soils.

1/21/15     Mr. Rodriguez provided a name of the company he was planning to take the soils to for disposal.  DERM confirmed that the company is permitted to accept this type of waste and reminded Mr. Rodriguez to retain a copy of the invoice and provide a copy to the DERM Inspector.    


1/27/15     DERM inspector Eric Miller visited the site.  No new activity documented.  Stained soil is observed still on site.      

1/27/15    RER Senior Staff inspects site and attends homeowner association meeting.


1/28/15    Neighborhood Compliance Officer Spikes inspects site and issues 3 zoning code related citations.   

Folio No. 30-2134-004-0320 (Vacant Lot)

  • Citation No. T052023- Unauthorized use in a single family residential district (RU-1): illegal storage of industrial equipment. (Deadline to Appeal - 2/17/15)

                Folio No. 30-2134-004-0860 (Lake)

  • Citation T052019- Failure to remove or obtain a zoning improvement permit, as stated in 33-8.1: chain link fence illegally erected without first obtaining a Zoning Improvement Permit. (Deadline to Appeal – 2/17/15)
  • Citation T052028- Unauthorized use in a single family residential district (RU-1): illegal storage of industrial equipment. (Deadline to Appeal - 2/17/15)


DERM Inspector Eric Miller returns to site to follow up on Waste Dumping Violation (WDV) and new concerns raised at homeowners meeting on 1/27/15 regarding vegetation clearing on the northeast quadrant of the lake property and a source of running water where vegetation clearing had occurred.

    Folio No. 30-2134-004-0860 (Lake)

  • Because previously documented stained soils had not been removed, Citation No. 180227   was sent via certified mail for non-compliance with the Waste Dumping Violation (WDV) issued January 7, 2015.
  • In addition, DERM issues a Final Notice Prior to Court Action for non-compliance with the NOV issued December 18, 2014 in relation to the lake filling.  

                NE Lake Quadrant concerns

  • DERM confirms that no filling had occurred in this quadrant.
  • The source of water was identified as a broken water meter; DERM referred this issue to the City of North Miami for follow up and repair.  


1/29/15     DERM and Neighborhood Compliance Staff (including Rick Roig and Rashid Istambouli) held a meeting at the site. In attendance were Mr. Rodriquez and Mr. Celestin.  Items of discussion were the permitting process, activity allowed by code, the current state of enforcement activity, restriction placed on permitting process by enforcement until violations are corrected.


1/30/15     Rick Roig received e-mail from Property Owner indicating two pieces of equipment were vandalized. Police report was attached. Property owner also requested an extension for 30 days on the concrete beams removal. He was advised the request would be reviewed in 7 days and, dependent on progress made in removal of the equipment and relocation of the fence, staff will determine if additional time will be granted.

1/31/15     Property owner reported removing 5 pieces of equipment.


2/2/15       Neighborhood Compliance Officer Spikes inspected the property, and the property owner has so far removed 7 pieces of construction/industrial equipment.  Seven pieces remain, along with numerous large concrete slabs.  The owner advises that he needs that equipment to remove the slabs and is working towards that.


2/3/15       Rick Roig inspected the property and noted that a total of 6 pieces of equipment were left on-site. A total of 8 pieces of equipment have been removed from the site. Additionally, the fencing from the rear of the adjacent properties has also been removed. 


                 DERM (Mayra Flagler) contacts Mr. Rodriguez to remind him of the deadline to comply with the Citation that was issued on January 28, 2015.  Mr. Rodriguez stated that he would remove the rest of the affected soils on the following day (2/4) and that the inspector could meet him on site after 1 pm to perform the confirmatory inspection.  Mr. Rodriguez was also informed that DERM would want to collect soil samples from representative areas on the property to help determine if there are any concerns with the soils that were brought on site to use as fill material.  Mr. Rodriguez agreed to allow access to DERM for the purposes of sampling the on-site fill.


2/4/15       Neighborhood Compliance Officer Andrea Darrough inspected the property the same equipment was on site. There were additional workers on site dealing with mechanical issues, and a soil disposal business was observed.


                      DERM staff including Eric Miller performed a follow up inspection to determine compliance with the Waste Dumping Violation (and associated citation) and to collect representative soil samples of the fill that was brought to the site. The inspection found that the visually impacted soils had been removed from the property. 


2/6/15       Rick Roig received e-mail from Property Owner informing the Department that all tires, steel, and soil have been removed from the property. The Property Owner requested an extension of time to remove the concrete beams. Neighborhood Compliance Officer Mufatau Folorunsho inspected the property and confirmed all equipment except a crane and excavator that will be used to remove the concrete beams were removed from the property as well. Rick Roig responded to the property owner's e-mail request for additional time on removing the concrete material. An extension has been granted until February 28th. Building violation citation hearing has been postponed until further notice.

Receipt for the disposal of the visually impacted soils related to Citation No. 180227 were emailed to the DERM inspector (Eric Miller).  Affidavit of Compliance with citation was filed.

2/11/15     Neighborhood Compliance Officer Spikes inspected the property, and the owner has not started the removal the concrete slabs. Staff contacted the owner to determine when the removal would begin.

2/12/15     Property owner contacted the department via e-mail and notified the department the removal of the slabs has started.

2/13/15     Neighborhood Compliance Officer Spikes inspected the property, and the owner started to remove the concrete slabs. An additional piece of equipment was brought to assist in the removal of the concrete.

2/17/15     Neighborhood Compliance Officer Spikes inspected the property and removal of the concrete slabs continues. Approximately 7 slabs remain on-site. Research of the Clerk of the Court records revealed the property owner has appealed the three zoning citations issued by the Department.

2/18/15     The results of the soil sampling of the on-site fill material conducted by DERM indicated that the material utilized to fill in portions of the lake were found to be impacted with elevated levels of arsenic and petroleum based compounds. An internal memorandum was produced by the Environmental Monitoring & Restoration Division and sent to the Code Enforcement Section for follow-up enforcement actions. In addition, the timeframes stipulated in the Final Notice Prior To Court Action that was issued on January 28, 2015 have not been met.  As such, a demand letter is to be sent mandating removal of fill material.

2/20/15     DERM hand delivered a Demand Letter to the owner for failure to comply with the NOV (issued 12/18/14) and the Final Notice Prior To Court Action (issued 1/28/15). In addition, the DL addresses the discovery of the impacted soils that was utilized within the lake and upland areas.  Demand Letter requires that temporary construction fencing be installed within 48 hours to restrict public access to the fill material.  Orders to commence removal of the fill material within 7 days are given, along with specific assessment requirements that must be performed with specific timeframes (maximum 60 days for full compliance). 


2/23/15   Neighborhood Compliance Officer Spikes inspects property and confirms all of the concrete has been removed.  Only the crane and backhoe remain on the property.

DERM Inspector Eric Miller contacted Mr. Rodriguez to request an update on the temporary fencing that was supposed to be installed as per the Demand Letter.  Mr. Rodriguez requests guidance from DERM as to the placement and appropriate location.  DERM staff agreed to meet him on site tomorrow to provide guidance (2/24/15) at which time he will have equipment available to start the process of securing the area.