John Renfrew, director of the water and sewage department, described the system as "being held together by chewing gum," The Miami Herald reported Tuesday. Both U.S. and Florida environmental agencies are involved in discussions with local officials on what needs to be done first and on how to pay for the work.
Dade County's main water treatment plant in Hialeah is 56 years old while two sewage treatment plants are 45 and 87 years old. About 14,000 miles of water and sewer lines also need work.
In the past two years, there have been 65 pipeline breaks that have led to untreated sewage spilled into the many waterways in the county or into local streets.
"The infrastructure we have out there is aged," Renfrew said. "Many of the pipes with leaks out there were built at the same time. It reminds me of an apartment where all the lights are put in at the same time, and you know how all the lights go out at the same time."