The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says it is fining the city of Fort Lauderdale nearly 2 million dollars for the series of sewage spills that occurred in the past few months.
In a letter, FDEP says they are allowed to stipulate a penalty for every spill under Florida Statutes.
The price of the penalty is "dependent on the size of the [spill] and how long the [spill] occurred," the letter says.
The city’s aging sewer pipes broke six times in December and spewed 126.9 million gallons of sewage — ranking as one of South Florida’s biggest spills ever. The spills fouled the Tarpon River, the Himmarshee Canal and streets in three neighborhoods.
According to what officials told the state Department of Environmental Protection, 79.3 million gallons spilled into George English Lake over a 10-day period that began Jan. 30 and ended Feb. 8. Then an additional 5.4 million gallons flooded streets near park right across from a popular mall.
In recent weeks, crews also have rushed to fix another string of water main breaks, forcing the city to warn residents to boil their tap water before drinking, brushing their teeth or washing dishes.
FDEP says the spills alone will cost Fort Lauderdale $341,500.
However, in the letter, the organization added that the spills continually violated city permits, which included a surface water quality violation. The penalty for that violation, they say, is $10,000 for every day the violation continued.
Photos: Fort Lauderdale Asked to Pay Nearly $1.8 Million for Sewage Spills: FDEP
In total, Fort Lauderdale is being asked to pay a $1,796,500 fine for the series of events.
The city has until March 31 to make the payment.