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Miami Beach Mayor Calls Miami Herald Report of Discharging Waste 'Misleading and Damaging'

"The article misrepresented the facts"

A little over a week ago, the Miami Herald published a report publicizing a study that declared Miami Beach was pumping unlawful amounts of fecal matter into the bay via their pump system, which was designed to combat flooding as sea levels rise.

Today, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine sent out an email calling the report misleading, damaging, and inaccurate, linking to a five-page letter from the City Manager and Attorney to the Herald, which outlines the article's "misconstructions."

Among the points stated in the letter is that city waters remain "swimmable" and meet the requirements of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System. It also states the "fecal matter" comes from a variety of animals (not merely human waste) and such bacteria "very quickly dies once exposed to the sun after hitting open water."

That interesting snippet is inserted below.

The Mayor's full email:

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Last week, my fellow Commissioners and I instructed the City Manager and Attorney to respond to the Miami Herald's misleading and damaging May 16th article regarding king tides and our flood mitigation system. The following letter was sent to the Executive Editor of the Miami Herald: http://bit.do/LetterTo-Aminda-Gonzalez

We took this step because the article misrepresented the facts about our City's efforts to address flooding and protecting the environment and caused undue challenges to our commitment to maintain public health and safety.

Further, the inaccuracies in the article wrongly paints a picture for our visitors and residents which could harm our City's vibrant tourism economy and reduce public confidence in our anti flooding mitigation measures.

The fact is the City's waters remain swimmable and meet the requirements of our National Pollution Discharge Elimination System as prescribed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Florida's Department of Environmental Protection.

My colleagues and I appreciate that protecting our bay is critically important and an issue that affects the broader South Florida community. It is imperative that our community receives accurate and truthful information and is able to continue leading by example for the benefit of all.

Thank you,

Mayor Philip Levine