Yesterday as I walked the Venetian Islands, this is the sign I found at one of the pump stations. The city might claim the pumps don't pollute, but the Miami Dade County Health Department has a different story to tell.
I was out walking the Venetian Islands yesterday and knocked on the door of a friend and supporter whose home happens to be located next to one of the pump stations.
His boat is docked in back of his charming 1950's ranch house, which has the most picturesque and sweeping views of Biscayne Bay. He invited me in, we began to chat about Miami Beach government and the pump station next to his house.
He said, "Can you believe that because of these pumps, the clean water I've enjoyed for the past 30 years is no more? Come and see the sign."
He ushered me outside.
Sure enough, there it was, in big clear letters, DANGER, contaminated water, do NOT fish or swim.
He looked at me and shrugged, "Who wants to dock their boat in this water?"
This county-placed sign is evidence that the pumps are polluting the bay, and the more pumps we use, the dirtier the water that fuels our economy will become.
The question is---what do we do? I am convinced that we must rely on gravity and seawalls instead of mechanics (which are faulty as you saw last week when some pumps failed and neighborhoods filled up like fishbowls). We will find a way to raise homes higher than streets (when the time comes), be clever and drain water to golf courses and other places, or find some type of pump that can filter this filthy water.
What we now know for sure, and what Miami Dade County can confirm, is that these pumps in their current state are just like the sign says, DANGEROUS. Either we upgrade the pumps to filter the stinking stale water they spew into the bay, or figure out a better way.
I feel confident that with the right commission, a commission willing to wait to research and find the best technology, or subsidize home-raising and other innovative ideas, we can find the right solution without contaminating the bay.
I know that with a courageous will, there is a better way.