The effects of Climate Change continue to paint a terrifying picture of South Florida's future, especially on the island of Miami Beach, where pumps designed to flush water into Biscayne Bay during seasonal high tides have been confirmed to be dumping high amounts of both human and dog excrement, according to the Miami Herald:
A study that looked at tidal floodwater and water discharged from the island’s new pumps during the 2014 and 2015 king tides found live fecal bacteria well above state limits. In one case, levels were more than 600 times the limit. While some of the fecal matter was dog waste, scientists found higher levels of human waste that likely enter floodwaters from leaky old sewer lines or septic tanks.
It sounds like the city's sewage system is in need of an overhaul, as is the filtering of flood water. Residents raised these concerns last summer.
Detecting human waste in urban floodwater is hardly unusual, but scientists say finding so much in a city facing dramatic projections for increased flooding as seas rise is cause for concern.
That projection: Miami Beach is expected to flood 380 times a year by 2045, up from the mere six times a year we're experiencing today.
In April, the Union for Concerned Scientists revised its estimate for flooding on the beach with new sea rise projections from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to about 380 times a year by 2045.
Somehow that equates to more than once per day. Meanwhile city officials are not surprised:
"Stormwater pipes are known conveyances of pollution. That is their job," said Elizabeth Wheaton, the city’s environment and sustainability director. "Their job is to drain the city. So when you sample at the outfall, of course you’re going to find elevated levels of bacteria."
As a frequenter by one of these pumps along the bay, we used to notice plenty of marine life below the surface. Today? Not so much.
Sadly, the Tragic City may be a more accurate nickname in the coming years as the effects of Climate Change continue to mount. While it's no easy battle, the city needs to step up their game.