Fort Lauderdale officials: Stay away from water-related activities at George English Lagoon, Middle River

Fort Lauderdale resident: ‘I am afraid somebody is going to get sick

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – With water and sewer pipes breaking in Fort Lauderdale, Jeff Maggio said he is worried about the health risks for residents and tourists.

In the last 10 weeks, 11 pipe breaks have sent water or sewer spewing out to disrupt the environment. He said the pattern is also not just a costly nightmare for the city’s budget and taxpayers, it’s also hurting local businesses.

“In the last six weeks, I have been taking my people fishing in Miami because the water is so polluted,” Maggio said. “I am afraid somebody is going to get sick.”

Fort Lauderdale’s precautionary advisory for water-related recreational activities remained in effect on Tuesday for the George English Lagoon, Middle River and other area waterways.

In the last 26 days, there have been two main breaks at George English Park. Workers removed discharge from Bayview Drive, which was closed in both directions between Sunrise Boulevard and Northeast 11th Street. Bayview Elementary and surrounding businesses were suffering with the closures.

“For a business like [Myapapaya juicery + kitchen], it makes it virtually impossible for people to come the normal way and come in and get breakfast or lunch,” said Marshall Adams, a Fort Lauderdale resident.

The subsequent advisory applies to 2500 North Federal Highway on the north and Rio Barcelona Canal on the south. The George English Park Boat Ramp is closed, and city officials are also asking people to avoid coming in contact with standing water.

There has been plenty of costly pollution in the past few months. The city had to pay a $1.8 million fine after reporting 211.6 million gallons of sewage spilled between Dec. 10 and Feb. 8.

The old and fragile 14-inch pipe that broke there on Monday had been repaired in 2016. Mayor Dean Trantalis changed the city’s policy from repairing to replacing.

The city’s $600 million 5-year plan to replace about 60 miles of water mains and about 120 miles of sewer lines will take time and more money.

“I would expect as time goes on, we will continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Chaz Adams, a spokesman for the city.

List of recent Fort Lauderdale sewer and water main breaks:

1. Dec. 10, 2019, Ponce de Leon Drive and SE 11th Street, Rio Vista.

2. Dec. 20, 2019, near Virginia Young Park at SE 10th Street and SE 9th Avenue, Rio Vista.

3. Dec. 21, 2019, Himmarshee Canal, near SE 2 St. and SE 9th Avenue, Beverly Heights.

4. Dec. 27, 2019, close to the intersection of NE 5th Street and NE 17th Avenue, Victoria Park.

5. Dec. 30, 2019, NE 36 Street, east of Bayview Drive, Coral Ridge Country Club Estates neighborhood.

6. Jan. 15, 2020, 12-inch water main break, Victoria Park neighborhood.

7. Jan. 30, 2020, George English Park at 1101 Bayview Drive, off of Sunrise Boulevard.

8. Feb. 2, 2020, 16-inch water main pipe broke in front of the Jackson Tower Condos of Fort Lauderdale, 100 S. Birch Road.

9. Feb. 3, 2020, sewer main break, Harbor Beach neighborhood.

10. Feb. 8, 2020, 6-inch water main rupture, New River near Southwest Seventh Street.

11. Feb. 24, 2020, George English Park, 1101 Bayview Drive, off of Sunrise Boulevard.

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.