Morgan & Morgan has joined forces with Reiser Law, P.C.; Marro Law, P.A.; and The McCain Law Firm, PLLC to file a lawsuit against the developers of Aventura Isles, a residential development in northern Miami-Dade County.
Owners of properties in the Aventura Isles neighborhood are suing Williams Island Ventures, LLC and other defendants for a failure to disclose contamination of the soil and groundwater to homeowners, among other claims.
The lawsuit alleges that developers had full knowledge of the contamination, and that instead of following local regulations by having restrictions be recorded in the community's property deeds, developers hid the soil’s contamination from home buyers.
As reported in the Miami New Times, the two contaminants at the Aventura site — arsenic and dieldrin, a neurotoxic pesticide — are “serial offenders.”
Dieldrin, which was once used as an insecticide, was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in all uses by the late 1980s. However, it is still known to persist in the environment.
Arsenic, which is used in herbicide and pesticide products, is still allowed for use on sod farms, golf courses, and highway rights-of-way by the EPA. According to theFlorida Department of Health, arsenic tends to stay in the top few feet of soil for a long time.
If you are a concerned Aventura Isles property owner, or if you would like more information, our attorneys can answer your questions and discuss your legal options. Please contact one of the attorneys below:
- Isabella Martinez, Esq. at (925) 433-6573 or email@example.com (Habla Español)
- Clay Townsend, Esq. at (407) 418-2075 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A History of Contamination
Over the years, various reports andstudieshave shown high concentrations of arsenic and other contaminants in the soil and the underlying groundwater of some South Florida golf courses, due to heavy herbicide and pesticide use.
The Aventura Isles site, which was formerly utilized as a row-crop farm, was a golf course known as Williams Island Country Club, Limited from the 1960s until 2004.
In 1994, the Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) inspected the golf course maintenance facility at Williams Island Country Club, where they first discovered contamination. DERM found that the facility’s vehicle wash and the pesticide-mixing areas were located right next to a lake, creating the potential for pesticides and other pollutants to run off into it.
In 2003, in anticipation of selling the property, Williams Island Country Club hired Evans Environmental & Geosciences, an environmental contracting company, to investigate potential environmental concerns. Evans Environmental & Geosciences found that “metals, petroleum hydrocarbons and pesticides/herbicides” leaked from underground storage tanks and “impacted soil and groundwater.”
Its report concluded: “[t]he presence of arsenic, toxaphene and chlordane [were] above Soil Cleanup Target Levels (SCTL), in the vicinity of the septic tank drain field and maintenance building, [which] indicated that the groundwater and soil quality have been affected.”
Five years later, in 2008, the developer hired Empire Environmental, Inc. to perform additional tests on the soils and groundwater. Empire Environmental found that “arsenic contamination was detected in soil and groundwater” and that “dieldrin and chlordane were detected in soil.”