From: Mike Pryslak

Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 2:22 PM

To: Carlos Alvarez (

Cc: Trevor Coke (

Subject: Public health threat from new stormwater drains


Dear Mayor Alvarez:


More than a year ago I first contacted Miami-Dade officials warning of the public health threat of new storm drains which are designed and installed so they foster mosquito breeding.  Since then I have tried repeatedly without success to find an ally within Miami-Dade willing to help solve this dangerous and expensive problem.


These storm drains violate both county ordinances and state statutes because they breed mosquitoes which can transmit deadly diseases.  After more than a year of failure working within Miami-Dade, I recently asked both the county and state public health departments to uphold their duty and enforce the laws.  (I now realize the county health department is a branch of the state health department.  Trevor Coke 305-623-3556 is leading the county health department's investigation.)  I have asked FEMA to determine if they have contributed funds for these new storm drains, and if so, to influence Miami-Dade to adhere to the local laws prohibiting maintaining anything capable of breeding mosquitoes.  My only contact at FEMA is Deb Ingram 202-646-2856.


Although this is a huge national problem, there are known solutions.  Unfortunately, Miami-Dade County has not recognized the problem and adopted its solutions.  If the problem is not solved through proper design and installation, then larvicide treatment programs are required.  California has studied the problem extensively and estimates it costs $750 per year per catch basin to comply with California laws (similar to Florida laws).


Minor changes in design and installation techniques can eliminate the public health threat and the need for many expensive maintenance programs.  (I also believe two inexpensive modifications to existing catch basins are likely to solve the problems.  Unfortunately talking about solutions is pointless until the problem is acknowledged.)  It's frustrating to realize that minor design and installation modifications can eliminate these problems, but public officials aren't listening or receiving the message.  Every day more catch basins are being installed with mosquito-breeding designs which will cause suffering and add perpetual expense to the county budget.


I've copied the County Attorney on my most recent correspondence with the Health Departments.  The Director of Public Works has investigated the problem and confirmed that the storm drains are breeding mosquitoes.  I'll be happy to provide you with much more information.


When I recently contacted the new Miami-Dade 311 center regarding this problem (their request number 05-00005592) I was told to contact your office.  I hope you are willing to get involved and help.



Mike Pryslak