In response to numerous emails and photos of the Collins Canal adjacent to the 17th Street pump station regarding “scum” in the water, City Manager Jimmy Morales sent a letter to City Commissioners telling them “there is no cause for concern.” In fact, he says, the system is working the way it’s supposed to. It’s not scum but foam, formed when air is introduced into the water as it is being pumped. This function of aeration increases the dissolved oxygen released into the water.
“It is important to maintain the oxygen level in the water because it is vital for the survival of fish and other aquatic species,” Morales wrote. “Additionally, low levels of oxygen cause algal blooms.”
The foam dissipates quickly according to Morales and is similar to the foam occasionally seen on beaches when the waves hit the sand. “The foam is not an indicator of pollution,” he explained. “The water that is being discharged through our pump stations is cleaner than what has traditionally flowed out of our aging gravity-based stormwater system.” He noted there are “bar racks that remove bottles and cans as well as a large structure that removes sediments before the water goes into our waterways.”
Morales assured Commissioners that both Miami-Dade County and the City do regular water quality sampling on the City’s waterways “including in the vicinity of this location, and the results do not indicate a cause for concern.”