Water Well Woes

Homeowners urged to get wells tested

A private well is the source of water for the Walton family in The Falls area of South Miami-Dade

They’re not hooked up to county water. Tanya has been giving her two young boys bottled water since getting warning letters from the State of Florida last month. A pesticide banned for decades was found in their well.

“I’m concerned. My son has been bathing in it for two years and the other one now for nine months. There’s nothing I can do about that now.”

The Walton’s home is one of 28 in a two-block area, between SW 132 and 136 Streets off 99th Court, where Dieldren has been detected at a concentration higher than the Health Advisory Level. 

“This product was banned by the EPA back in 1974 for agricultural application. It was completely banned in 1987 for termite control,” explained Samir Elmir, Director of Environmental Health for the Miami-Dade County Health Department. 

This all came to light when a resident saw a crew spraying chemicals in a vacant field and filed a complaint with the county. The Health Department noticed neighboring homes were on wells, sampled the water, and discovered Dieldren. 

“It’s very clear that when you expose rats to this type of chemical for a long period of time at low doses or low levels, they suffer from some kind of liver disease and weakness in the immune system,” said Elmir. It’s a potential problem not just for this neighborhood. 

“There are 20,000 to 30,000 thousand homes that are operating on wells,” Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson said. She stresses it’s up to individual homeowners to get their wells tested to ensure their water is safe. 

Private wells are not regulated by any government agency. Commissioner Sorenson’s district has a lot of homes built on former farm lands. She says those are the residents who need to be particulary vigilant about having their wells tested. 

If you use a private well and your home is not connected to an approved water source, you can call the Environmental Health Department (305-623-6500) to find out about testing for water quality. 

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