Miami-Dade Septic to Sewer Conversions and Existing Priorities

By Jerry Joseph, Commissioner

(September 10, 2022) – I recently had the opportunity to hear from and meet the Mayor of the Village of El Portal. El Portal is in a low-lying area in Miami-Dade County that borders the Little River, a tributary that empties into Biscayne Bay. The Village has been suffering from septic overf lows and spillage during storms, which is causing beach closures, fish kills and algae blooms in Biscayne Bay.

I have pledged my support, along with his own efforts, in finding El Portal’s Mayor, Omarr C. Nickerson, the $5 million necessary to switch his Village over to 100% county sewer. Along with Omarr, we are making the necessary connections on the County, State and Federal level to gain this funding. $5 million is a small amount when considering the major issue that it would assist in overcoming.

I understand that there are several other communities on septic that require a changeover to sewer, some of which also spill into Biscayne Bay and others which affect ground water quality. Each of these situations should have been a priority many years back, but El Portal should be the starting point as a main contributor to Biscayne Bay pollution, algae bloom occurrences and beach closures.

On August 29, 2022, at a countywide meeting with MiamiDade Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava, I was able to bring these issues to further light and received guarantees of assistance in developing a quick action plan.

Since then, the County has revised its Priority 1 Plan to include El Portal and a few other septic connected communities that directly affect Biscayne Bay water quality. I, along with Mayor Omarr C. Nickerson and other City and Village Officials throughout the County are delighted with Mayor Daniella Cava’s attention to this critical issue.

Contact Commissioner Jerry Joseph at or 305.792.1754.