Posted on Mon, Feb. 20, 2006


WHAT A PAIN!



NO PONDING IN 35 YEARS, SO

WHY DO WE NEED FRENCH DRAINS?

• Q: Can Action Line tell me why storm drains are being installed in the my neighborhood bordered by Bird Road, Ludlam Road, Coral Way and Southwest 72nd Avenue? I've lived here for 35 years, and we've never had any standing water. Can Action Line tell me why our tax dollars are being wasted?

Helen Everett,

Miami

• A: The installation of the storm drains is a project managed by the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management. According to Tony Cotarelo, chief of DERM's water management division, it documented at least seven reports of standing water in the neighborhood in 1999 and 2000.

The problem with flooding and standing water is that it encourages mosquitoes to breed and hastens the degradation a roadway's base, which increases the frequency of expensive repairs and maintenance. ''These type of actions, in the end, save us money,'' Cotarelo said of the project.

DERM is installing French drains -- 15-feet deep by 3-feet wide trenches filled with gravel. Rain water collects in a perforated pipe that's laid horizontally in the trench and is able to percolate away more quickly. The project, funded by a general obligation bond and DERM's Storm Water Utility, is expected to be complete in late August or early September, Cotarelo said.

As more of our urban surface is paved over, rainwater has fewer places to drain away, and that leads to ponding and standing water. Compounding the problem in suburban neighborhoods is the parking of cars on the swale; it compacts the ground underneath, making it impervious to water. One simple way to help mitigate the effect is to plant more trees; the canopy holds rainwater and releases it slowly to the ground, allowing time for it to drain.







Posted on Wed, Feb. 22, 2006

SOUND OFF

FRENCH DRAINS ILLEGAL BY COUNTY, STATE LAW

• I'm sorry to tell you that you were duped into believing that French drains reduce mosquitoes (Action Line, Feb. 20.) French drains were installed in my Westwood Lake neighborhood in 2003. Since then, mosquitoes have been a constant presence.

I've tried to convince Miami-Dade County and the state to stop this, but the only thing that has changed is that, reluctantly, the county has added more than $400,000 to budget for catch basins. We've asked the federal government for additional mosquito-fighting money.

Both state and county laws define French drains as illegal because they hold standing water. In the two years I've been fighting this problem, I haven't received one response from any county official directly addressing my concerns of violations. I've documented my efforts at www.pryslak.org.

Mike Pryslak,

via e-mail






 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Mike Pryslak

Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 4:05 PM

To: Action Line

Subject: Re: February 20, 2006 story on French drains

 

 

Dear Action Line:

 

I'm sorry to tell you that you were duped into believing that French drains reduce mosquitoes.  I have no doubt that the County documented seven reports of standing water in two years in areas without the drains.  But when the French drains are in place, there will be standing water in every one of their catch basins forever.  Compare seven incidents across a large area in two years with thousands of perpetual incidents forevermore.

 

French drains were installed in my Westwood Lake neighborhood in 2003.  Since then mosquitoes have been a constant presence.  I've tried very hard to convince the County and State to stop this program and find a mosquito-free design, but I've made virtually no progress.  The only thing that has changed is that, reluctantly, the County has added over $400,000 to its mosquito-fighting budget earmarked for catch basins and we've asked the federal government for additional mosquito-fighting money.

 

Both state and county laws define these French drains as illegal structures because they hold standing water that breeds mosquitoes which carry deadly diseases.  In two years of fighting this problem I have not received one response from any County official directly addressing my concerns of legal violations.

 

I've reasonably documented my research and efforts at www.pryslak.org.  But I've given up.  No government official is going to let tiny mosquitoes - deadly as they may be - stop hundreds of millions of dollars of spending.  Not until we experience an epidemic of a mosquito-borne disease - like Chicago did in 2002 - will our County follow its own laws.

 

While there are many references about this problem, perhaps the most succinct can be found at:

 

http://www.forester.net/sw_0203_dark.html

 

On May 26, 2005 County Commissioner Javier Souto's Town Hall Meeting focused on this very issue in Winston Park.  The room was packed with angry residents who wanted explanations of why these drains were put in their neighborhoods that rarely experienced flooding or mosquito problems in the past.  Just weeks earlier the Miami Herald published my Letter To The Editor on this subject and on May 16th it published seven additional letters from other residents responding to my letter, all with the same complaints.

 

Please, don't accept the answers you're being given by a few County employees.  Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.  Not only are these drains a huge boondoggle, they're illegal and they're deadly!

 

Regards,

Mike Pryslak

10850 SW 42nd Street

Miami, FL  33165

305-221-2582

 

P.s. Below is a copy of an email message I sent to you almost a year ago regarding this same problem.

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Mike Pryslak

Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2005 4:40 PM

To: Action Line

Subject: Mosquitoes breeding in storm drains

 

 

Dear Action Line:

 

Florida Statute 386.041(1)(e) prohibits, "The creation, maintenance, or causing of any condition capable of breeding flies, mosquitoes, or other arthropods capable of transmitting diseases, directly or indirectly to humans."  Many storm drain catch basins located in Miami-Dade County permanently hold standing water that breeds mosquitoes which spread diseases.  If they are illegal, how do they get building permits and why are they allowed to remain?

 

Regards,

Mike Pryslak

10850 SW 42nd Street

Miami, FL  33165-4829

305-221-2582

 

For the Florida Statute, see:

http://www.flsenate.gov/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=Ch0386/ch0386.htm

 

For further reference, see:

http://www.forester.net/sw_0203_dark.html