Miami River

About Miami River

The Miami River is a 5.5 mile river that begins at the outskirts of the Everglades and runs through Downtown Miami. This river once flowing clean and clear gave the Tequsta Indians their main source of water.

After the population boom hit Miami and the city became so jam packed full of people, the river suffered terribly with pollution problems.

Environmentalists blame the start of the Miami River’s problems on the Florida East Coast Railway Company. This company arrived into Miami back in 1896 and began the first dredging of the waters making the once natural flowing water split into many forks. The forks were then dammed off as construction to the area was performed and by the time the dams were released the water was so full of stone and dirt that it was now undrinkable.

The Florida East Coast Railway Company dredged the river twice in efforts to rectify the damage. After a year it had to be performed again and the quality of the water still would not return back to its original state.

That same year the first sewer lines in Miami were installed. By the time the 1950’s arrived, over 30 lines were dumping raw untreated sewage directly into the Miami River. The City of Miami decided that something must be done because the downtown area had developed such a stench that families were moving to the suburbs on the outside of town.

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In late 1950 a new sewage treatment plant was built on Virginia Key and all open sewage lines were now to be connected into it. The project took a few years to put into effect and the Miami River continued to suffer almost until 1960.

Almost 50 years has gone by and the Miami River is in worse shape then ever before. Old rusted boats hug the banks polluting the water as they slowly fall apart. Most of these boats were seized during drug smuggling runs or after being used to smuggle illegal aliens into the country.

The Miami River is treated by the local government like a giant floating garbage can! All attention is focused on the beautiful waters of the

Biscayne Bay and its value as a tourist attraction. Little to no attention is paid to the small Miami River that used to be such a vital part of the area.

To date you can still look out at the oil streaked water of the river. The toxic levels from years of pollution and the seepage of fuels from the impounded boats have left this area in an almost flammable state.Some locals even say they go to look at the river sometimes, but take care not to smoke cigarettes when they’re in the area!

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