Girl Scouts can do anything! This is especially true for one troop that fought for clean water in a community with a contaminated water supply, which led to $1.7 million water project.
In fall 2014, Girls Scouts of Tropical Florida Troop 713 took to the streets warning neighbors of possible DDT contamination in well water, after two sisters, Kathe and Sienna Labiste, found out their well had been contaminated.
The troop members went door to door, distributing their homemade flyers alerting neighbors of contamination, informing them about the dangers of DDT toxins and providing them information on how to get their wells tested.
After alerting Florida Department of Health and other agencies, Assistant Troop Leader Luis Labiste and his family met with Miami-Dade District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava. Sooner thereafter, the commissioner arranged a multi-disciplinary meeting that included Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department, Miami-Dade County Public Works and Florida Department of Environmental Protection. This meeting set the wheels in motion towards developing possible solutions.
During this time, the troop notified neighbors door to door, once more advising them of upcoming town hall meetings regarding the contaminated well issue in the community.
With a lot of hard work from Commissioner Cava and her team, alongside the efforts of Troop 713, funds were allocated for the Kendalwood Estates Well Contamination Water Project.
As it turned out, at least 10 homes had contaminated wells.
In June 2017, everyone’s hard work came to fruition. Water pipes were starting to be installed in the affected community.
Three years in the making, the project is just about finished and the neighborhood of Kendalwood Estates has potable, clean water. The cost of the water project was approximately $1.7 million. It all started with the girl-led civic engagement of Troop 713, which made a lasting impact and potentially helped save lives.
“Working together, we can make anything happen. Thanks to the teamwork of Troop 713 and Commissioner Cava’s staff, a community has clean water now,” Labiste said.