Where should new Miami-Dade trash incinerator go? Mayors say: not near their cities

MIAMI – Months after a massive fire damaged Miami-Dade County’s Doral waste-to-energy plant beyond repair, county commissioners are now scouting out locations for a new incinerator facility.

They’re honing in on three locations: the existing site in Doral, Medley, and the site of the old Opa-locka West Airport, located in far northwest Miami-Dade, near the Broward County line.

Residents and elected officials packed a heated county commission meeting Tuesday to speak about relocation plans.

“Doral suffered for 40 years. Why do we think other communities deserve that?” a speaker said.

That includes the mayors of Doral and Hialeah, as well as the mayor of a city not even in Miami-Dade County: Miramar’s Wayne Messam.

Miramar’s city limits are just over the county line, near the Opa-locka West location.

“This decision will impact over 100,000 Broward residents who do not have a vote, who were not contemplated into the decision,” Messam said.

Fears of toxic chemicals and wind-borne fumes permeated the meeting.

“The price tag for these families is their health and quality of life,” Doral Mayor Christi Fraga said.

The three plant sites were picked for their location and size to accommodate a higher-tech trash program.

The county is trying “to explore a whole range of other options that will bring us closer to a zero-waste strategy,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.

Commissioners also voted to close the old and now offline Doral site.

“We need to be able to have capacity to get rid of our garbage and continue to issue building permits and we’ve satisfied that,” commission Chair Oliver Gilbert said.

The first step in choosing the location for the new sites includes air quality monitoring around all three proposed locations.

They think the whole process to build a new site could take the better part of a decade.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."