Sheen on New River causes concern for Fort Lauderdale residents

Contractor improperly moving water caused river to turn brown, city says

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The recent brown water in Fort Lauderdale's New River has cleared out, but a sheen on the water is now causing concerns.

People who live near the New River were surprised earlier this week to see the water had turned a muddy, brown color.

"I was shocked at how large it was. It actually went down the entire river," Randel Sands said. 

Sands lives in a building that overlooks the river and was stunned by what he saw.

According to the City of Fort Lauderdale, the murky water was caused by a contractor improperly moving water from a downtown construction site into the city’s stormwater drainage system.

"The contractor, DP Development, was de-watering the site without a proper permit and was experiencing problems with their pumping systems," a statement from the City of Fort Lauderdale read. "The construction site was shut down and the contractor was issued a notice to appear before the city prosecutor with potential fines to be determined."

County officials said, fortunately, the water was only filled with sediment from the site and isn't toxic.

Once the construction site was fixed, the color dissipated.

But that may not be the only issue going on in the river right now.

Sands said a friend called him on Tuesday and pointed out a sheen on the river near Esplanade Park, and said the area stunk like diesel fuel.

Two days later, that sheen is still there and Sands worries it’s going to start having an effect on the people and animals that live here.

"This river is actually a home for a lot of wildlife," Sands said. "This home has a lot of manatees in it. People see the manatees in the water all of the time. So it’s a concern for me that the wildlife is actually protected."

City and county officials are investigating to determine what is causing the sheen on the water and whether it's related to the mess from earlier this week.

About the Author: