Heavy rainfall triggered by tropical disturbance in South Florida, the United States, overwhelmed the sewage treatment system in Miami, causing overflows and prompting officials to close the beaches and issue no-swim advisory.
According to a statement by Miami-Dade County on Saturday, sewer overflows were reported around the region because of exceedingly high flows induced by floods and higher groundwater levels, according to a report in Fox News.
As a result, numerous coastal areas, including South Beach and Virginia Key Beach, have been given a no-swim advisory until further notice, the report further said.
“This was a capacity issue of so much rain is so little time,” Jennifer Messemer of Miami-Water Dade’s and Sewer Department (WASD) was quoted as saying by the outlet.
USA Today said in its coverage that sewage overflows are indicative of Florida’s failed wastewater systems, which are troubled by old infrastructure and a lack of clear funding options.
Florida’s wastewater treatment plant can handle an average daily flow of 143 million gallons of sewage. But on Saturday, the facility reported more than 310 million gallons of wastewater and rainwater that infiltrated the system during the stormy weather.
Failing sewers have spilled 1.6 billion gallons of wastewater over the last decade, much of it damaging the state’s estuaries and oceans, according to a GateHouse Media examination of state environmental statistics.
“The impacts of the more than 11 inches of precipitation experienced during this severe weather event have led to a wastewater overflow at the facility,” according to a statement from the county.
Wastewater spilled all over the roads, popping off manhole covers on several streets. Some of the sewage spilled into the Miami River from the Northwest Seventh Street manhole, according to Miami Herald.
According to Environment Florida, the water was equivalent of every individual in Miami flushing their toilet 38 times. Despite the fact that this tropical disturbance was neither a hurricane nor a tropical storm, the almost foot of rain it dumped was enough to cause major damage.