From: Mike Pryslak
Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 8:31 PM
To: Carlos Espinosa
Cc: Millie Garcia-Navarro; Delivette Gonzalez; Denis Morales; Carlos Alvarez; Tony Cotarelo; John Renfrow; Henry Sori; Tom Marko; Pete Hernandez; Bernardo Escobar; Javier Souto; Anitere Flores; J. Alex Villalobos; John Agwunobi; Governor Jeb Bush; Patrick Fraser; Marlon Nelms; Samir Elmir
Subject: FW: Update - Mosquito Issues in Mr. Pryslak's neighborhood (Westwood Lakes)

Dear Mr. Espinosa:


I appreciate that you've provided an update on your activities regarding my concerns about mosquitoes breeding in storm drains.   However, after reading the seven points you provided in your update, I still don't understand how you are working to control the problem. 


How and when will this problem be solved?


How can you justify installing and maintaining these structures knowing that they violate state and county laws?


What changes will be made in storm drain designs to prevent mosquitoes from breeding before the $117 million from the Building Better Communities bond program is spent on additional storm drains?


I've included additional questions in red below each of your seven points.


Thank you,

Mike Pryslak



From: Garcia-Navarro, Millie (Mayor's Office)
Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 10:30 AM
To: Mike Pryslak
Cc: Gonzalez, Delivette (Mayor's Office); Morales, Denis (Mayor's Office); Alvarez, Carlos (Mayor's Office)
Subject: FW: Update - Mosquito Issues in Mr. Pryslak's neighborhood (Westwood Lakes)

Dear Mr. Pryslak:

I had asked all the departments for an update on the mosquito issue as we promised you.  I am forwarding you a copy of what I just received from them.  Any comments or concerns regarding this report will be greatly appreciated.  We are here to serve the public.

Have a wonderful day,


From: Espinosa, Carlos (DERM)
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 12:32 PM
To: Garcia-Navarro, Millie (Mayor's Office)
Cc: Valdes, Dorian (DERM); Cotarelo, Antonio (DERM); Renfrow, John (DERM); Sori, Henry F. (PWD); Marko, Thomas (CMO); Hernandez, Pedro (Pete) (CMO)
Subject: Update - Mosquito Issues in Mr. Pryslak's neighborhood (Westwood Lakes)

In regard to Mr. Pryslak and the mosquito issues, we have proceeded as agreed in the meeting back on April 22, 2005.  Specifically, an evaluation process was initiated in a number of drainage catch basins in his neighborhood (Westwood Lakes).  In addition, all literature provided by Mr. Pryslack has been evaluated and staff has reviewed other pertinent information from various sources.  A report will be prepared in the near future.  At the present time, the conclusions of our evaluation are:

1.      The new drainage system installed in the Westwood Lakes neighborhood was designed and built according to standards.  This neighborhood was developed around 1956 and had a very limited drainage system. 

[Note: From this point forward, all text in red was inserted by Mike Pryslak on June 23rd.]

Please provide copies of the "standards" you refer to and explain how they don't violate Florida Statute 386.041(1)(e). 

Since 1956, how much flood damage has occurred in Westwood Lake?  My family has owned three homes in the neighborhood, two since 1956, and we've never been aware of any flood damage in Westwood Lake.   As was asked by many residents at Senator Souto's May 26th Town  Meeting, will you first verify that flood damage has occurred before installing new storm drains in other neighborhoods?

 2.      Drainage design features applicable to California and Virginia are not applicable in Dade county, due to our unique subtropical climate (50-60 inches of rain a year), high ground water table and low flat terrain. 

Standing water is a public health hazard and is illegal in California and Florida.  You must find ways to design storm drains that normally don't hold standing water for more than three days, otherwise they are illegal. 

California is a diverse state with many different challenges, in fact, many more than South Florida.  But given the objective to create drainage systems that don't foster mosquito breeding, the engineers in California worked together to find solutions.  Have Miami-Dade's engineers proposed and tested designs that don't breed mosquitoes?  Have Miami-Dade's engineers contacted their peers in California and Virginia yet to discuss our unique challenges and possible solutions?

Many areas of California experience more rainfall than South Florida.  See

3.      Drainage catch basins will always contain water during the wet season (May to November) due to the occurrence of rain on a daily basis and the subsequent high ground water table. 

This is my point - as they are designed, installed and maintained, Miami-Dade's catch basins often contain water.  Since that's a public health hazard and illegal, it's time to address the problem.  Either new designs are needed, or new maintenance methods are needed.  If monthly larvicide treatments will prevent mosquitoes from breeding, then the County must budget such treatments to avoid violating the laws. 

 4.      During portions of the dry season (Feb - April) there may be a very small number of catch basins with bottom elevations high enough were they may not intersect the groundwater table and which could therefore drain-out of the bottom through weep holes.  We are identifying these few catch basins in the Westwood Lake neighborhood that fall under that category.  However, it needs to be realized that this is not the mosquito season and the benefits therefore are limited. 

The citizens participating at Senator Souto's May 26, 2005 Town Meeting clearly told you they've experienced mosquito problems this past winter.

5.      The mosquitoes species found in the catch basins in the Westwood Lakes neighborhood are not those proven to be vectors of the West Nile virus. 

Please cite your sources for this statement since it contradicts the following:

- The Centers for Disease Control provides a database of mosquitoes found to be West Nile Virus Positive, and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes have been on their list every year since 2001. See

- Dr. Alicia Camps  from the Miami-Dade County Health Department attended a workshop held on April 3-4, 2002 at the University of Florida’s Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce, Florida, where it was theorized that here in Florida, "Cx. quinquefasciatus might serve as the primary vector of West Nile virus early in the year with Cx. nigripalpus taking over this role later in the year." See

- "At present, the mosquito species of most concern in the transmission of the West Nile virus to humans are the Culex species or catch basin mosquito. They are active from May to August. They prefer highly polluted and stagnant waters for breeding (i.e. water in ditches, eavestroughs, bird baths and roadside catch basins) and are more common in urban rather than rural areas." See

 - The Fall 2004 issue of "Wing Beats of the Florida Mosquito Control Association" says on page 10, "The majority of underground mosquitoes are Culex quinquefasciatus, known as the Southern house mosquito, which is the main culprit in transmitting West Nile virus and a suspect in transmitting St. Louis encephalitis in the Los Angeles region."   See

- An August 2004 Mississippi State University Extension Service publication on the Culex quinquefasciatus indicates it will readily feed on humans and is one of the main carriers of West Nile Virus to people.   See

 - Without requiring absolute, conclusive proof, I think it is obvious that standing water in Miami-Dade's storm drains is dangerous. Walter J. Tabachnick, Director, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, says, "It would be foolhardy for any mosquito control program to base their control efforts on laboratory results showing which vector species appear to be the most efficient vector of WN virus." See 

6.      The Mosquito Control Division will abate problems in the neighborhood as they are reported. 

Sadly, this is simply not true.  I have been reporting live mosquito larva in the 3000 storm basins from DERM's DORM project for the past 18 months.   Very few have been inspected and treated; however, when inspected, the Mosquito Control Division has found live larva.  The Director of Public Works says the County can't afford to treat storm drains.  As recently as May 26th, at Senator Souto's Town Meeting, Mr. Sori refused to authorize monthly larvicide treatments for storm drains known to hold standing water and breed mosquitoes.

7.      DERM and Public works also are working with Commissioner Souto on the issue and have participated in his Town Hall meetings. 

How specifically are DERM and Public Works working with Senator Souto other than by attending one of his Town Meetings?  What has been done about the problem?  What is scheduled to be done about the problem?  After discovering that the vast majority of the dozen catch basins tested in Westwood Lake were installed without weep holes, what plans have been made to inspect and repair the remaining similar catch basins?

However, we do agree, that repairing these catch basins will not eliminate standing water for many months of the year - reinforcing the requirement for different designs and monthly larvicide treatments.

This is a quick summary of actions up to this point.  If you need additional information, please call me (305) 372-6796.