A petition to relocate and modernize Miami-Dade County’s waste management facility in Doral has surpassed 1,700 signatures in only three weeks.
Doral Community Coalition’s petition urges the Miami-Dade County Commission not to renew the lease on the Miami-Dade County Resources Recovery Facility, citing environmental and odor concerns.
Run by Covanta, the waste-to-energy plant processes 1,000,000 tons of the County’s trash annually. The waste is burned to produce energy, generating 77 megawatts of electricity per year.
Covanta’s incinerator has been blamed for the odor problem plaguing its surrounding neighborhoods. According to the City of Doral, residents have filed over 3,000 complaints against Covanta since January 2016.
Residents say activities like jogging, bike-riding, park activities, and neighborhood socialization are impossible on certain days due to the overpowering smell.
“The smell emitted from this facility inundates my home multiple times a week,” said one of the petition’s signatories. “The smell is so bad that it causes everyone to gag even indoors as the smell travels through air vents.”
The waste-to-energy process also generates ash, which is stored in a monofill. “Fly ash” is categorized as a hazardous material and poses an environmental threat if not properly handled.
Covanta’s facility has been in operation since 1985, making it one of the oldest waste management sites in the United States. The current lease will expire on October 31st, 2023. If the County Commission does not take action at least one year in advance, the lease will be automatically renewed for up to twenty years.
The City of Doral has made efforts to inspect and monitor Covanta’s facility. However, since the plant is designated as an “Area or Facility of Countywide Significance” (AFCS), the City lacks legal authority to take further action. The Miami Dade County Commission is the only governmental body which can vote to notify Covanta that the County will not automatically renew its operations contract in 2023. The Commission is the only governmental body with authority to negotiate with Covanta and formulate a viable plan to remove the facility and its operations from Doral altogether.
The Doral Community Coalition hopes that if the Commission takes action not to renew Covanta’s lease, Miami-Dade County will construct a modern waste management facility located further from residential areas.
“As a community, we have one year to come together and push for a meaningful solution to this ongoing problem. We need everyone who lives, works and frequents our city to sign this petition”, said Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich, President of the Coalition.
The Coalition expects to reach their next goal of 2,500 signatures shortly.
Paid for and approved by Doral Community Coalition