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On April 5, 2023, Cohen Milstein filed Antezana, et al. v. Kimley Horn, et al. ( Cir. Crt. Broward Cnty.), an environmental toxic tort and property damage class action suit, against the City of Miramar and its consultant, Kimley-Horn, Inc. The plaintiffs claim that, due to the negligence of the City and the malpractice of its consultant, their water supply has not been properly treated and has caused irreversible and costly damage to the copper piping in their homes.
Plaintiffs allege that, despite continuous complaints from its residents, the City failed to take necessary action, ultimately causing severe harm to the copper water pipes of multiple homes in Miramar. Per site investigations and lab evaluations, small pitting holes were found in the piping of each plaintiff’s place of residence. It was determined that this pitting was caused by finished water from Miramar’s West Water Treatment Plant, which uses nanofiltration and reverse osmosis processes to clean the City’s water. The City failed, as part of its treatment process, to add back to the water the minerals necessary to prevent damage to copper piping before it dispensed the water to its residents.
The City of Miramar owns and operates its own water treatment plants. Miramar’s West Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) supplies water to thousands of residents and businesses in Miramar from west of Palm Avenue to SW 196th Avenue.
The WWTP receives groundwater withdrawn from the Biscayne and Floridan Aquifers by production wells and uses nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) processes as the first steps in treating its drinking water. These processes remove various minerals, including calcium and Sodium hydroxide (sometimes called caustic soda or lye), which are necessary to create a coating inside copper pipes that prevents corrosion.
Plaintiffs allege that during the years 2016 to 2022, the City failed to properly treat the water by failing to add back the minerals lost, primarily calcium, during the RO and NF processes. The lack of calcium, along with the proper alkalinity and hardness, caused the finished water from the WWTP to be non-protecting of the copper pipe to corrosion processes. They claim this lack of minerals and improper and inadequate corrosion inhibitor reduced and removed the protective layer on the copper piping, ultimately resulting in corrosion, pitting, and pinholes in the piping.
After residents of Miramar complained to the City about premature plumbing failure, the City contracted Kimley-Horn, Inc. as a consultant to help address the water crisis. After multiple analyses, the company failed to instruct the City how to properly treat the water to avoid damaging the copper piping of its residents. Accordingly, Kimley-Horn is facing counts of professional malpractice and negligence in the suit.
As a result of the City’s improper treatment of its water, many Miramar residents have been forced to entirely re-pipe their homes. Rather than accept responsibility, the City advised individuals to replace water pipes at their own expense or take out a loan from the City itself. In their class action, Plaintiffs seek to have the City take responsibility for the damages it caused rather than making its residents shoulder that burden on their own.
This case is named: Antezana, et al. v. Kimley Horn, et al., Case No. # 170374185, Cir. Crt. Broward County, FL