Key Biscayne Woman Accuses Miami-Dade County of Infecting Her With Poop Water

Judi Kolson used to love paddling the waters of Biscayne Bay until a recent outing allegedly gave her a leg infection after her skin came into contact with contaminated water. Now, the breast cancer survivor from Key Biscayne is careful not come into contact with sea water when she hits the bay on her paddle board or boat.

In an affidavit filed in Miami federal court on Wednesday, Kolson claims Miami-Dade County is responsible for dumping millions of gallons of raw sewage into the bay. Along with the nonprofit environmental organization Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, she wants to be added as a plaintiff to a December lawsuit state and federal regulatory agencies filed against Miami-Dade County for allowing the local sewer system to go to, well, crap.

In the lawsuit, the U.S. Government and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection allege Miami-Dade is in violation of the Clean Water Act and has failed to adequately maintain the sewage system, allowing it to pose an "imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of the public."

County officials have ignored fixing the aging sewer system for so long it is going to cost taxpayers $1.5 billion and take 15 years to rebuild pipes, pumps and sewage treatment plants that in some cases are almost 100 years old.

According to a December 2 Miami Herald article, one of the largest repair jobs involves a $550 million reconstruction of the controversial wastewater treatment plant on Virginia Key. Another $408 million is penciled in for replacing and rehabbing the county's 1,035 pump stations, and miles of transmission lines that run to and from the plants.

Banana Republican is waiting for a response from a spokesman from the county's Water & Sewer Department; we'll update this post when we hear back.

Motion to Intervene by

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This case is not about accusations, it is about citizens calling attention to the fact that Miami-Dade County has broken the law through numerous Clean Water Act violations. The individuals involved in the case should not be the point of focus; the tens of millions of gallons of raw sewage being released into Biscayne Bay by the County's sewage system, and what can be done about that fact, should the point of focus.


I'm 50 and this has been going on in FL and CA for as long as I can remember. I stopped putting even a toe in the water at age 24

Its about time something is done about this.


Thank you for the coverage of this important issue.  I am one of the attorneys representing Ms. Koslen and Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper.  Ms. Koslen put her name on this suit because she wants the water to be clean for everyone.  A cut on Ms. Koslen's leg became infected after coming in contact with the water.  She has tried to avoid direct contact with the water since that time, but continues to boat and paddle in the water several times a week.  This is not a personal injury suit.  It is about getting urgent problems cleaned up expeditiously and ensuring that capital improvement plans and the rebuild of the sewage infrastructure is done in a way that will protect the environment, public health and our fresh water supply.  

Bev Armstrong
Bev Armstrong

I noticed the poop water years ago ('91) becoming filthier looking when windsurfing on the old windsurfer beach on the key. No water flow in that area and obviously 'poopy! Sewage pipe leaks in the Miami River were reported but quickly afterward deemed to be 'fixed'. Looks so beautiful and sewage control is not sounding good!!

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