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Environment

Sewer Line Breaks Prompt Swimming and Water Use Warnings for Miami Beach, Surfside and Bal Harbour

Residents of Miami Beach, Surfside and Bal Harbour Village are being warned to steer clear of some waterways and reduce water use after three sewer line breaks this week.

About 11:30 p.m. Monday evening, contractors drilling a well on Michigan Avenue hit a 42-inch line just north of Lincoln Road. City officials confirmed the break about 15 minutes later, but the line was not shut down until 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, spilling about 875,000 gallons of sewage, according to a report filed with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The break increased flows in other parts of the system and caused two more breaks Thursday morning, about a mile away on Pine Tree Drive and on Harding Avenue.

Officials told FDEP that after the first break, city crews and vaccum trucks worked to contain the spill. Nearby stormwater pumps were shut down, but sewage flowed into at least three storm drains within 100 feet of the spill, the city said. Waste from the third break also spilled into stormwater drains and canals and is ongoing, the city said. The city told FDEP it was still working on calculating the amount of the additional spill.

The city said it expects to have the 42-inch pipe repaired by Thursday night or early Friday.

In the meantime, officials are asking people to limit water use — like taking shorter showers and shorter dishwasher cycles — to prevent more stress on the system, which could potentially trigger more breaks.

People should also steer clear of water on the city’s west side — and along the east edge of Biscayne Bay — where waters are being tested for elevated levels of waste. The city is posting advisories near polluted water and says the breaks have so far not impacted beaches.

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