Residents on Meridian Avenue just south of Lincoln Road have recently been forced to avoid their own sidewalks as raw sewage has backed-up onto their path.
According to residents, sewage has been spilling onto the sidewalk on the 1500 and 1600 blocks of Meridian Avenue for over a year.
“It would go on for days and days and then all of a sudden it would stop,” said Debra Samberg, who lives on the 1500 block.
Samberg has owned the apartment for years, but moved down year-round in early 2012. She said she noticed the raw sewage coming out of the manholes soon afterward.
“You could see that it was toilet paper and things,” she said.
Samberg said that she has taken to crossing the street to avoid the sewage. Since it began in 2012, Samberg said the back-ups have happened periodically every few weeks. The most recent episode in May was the first time she had seen anyone from the city’s Public Works department come out to clean up.
According to Public Works Director Eric Carpenter, a building at 1601 Meridian Ave. is responsible for the backed-up sewers. He said the underlying causes could include improper grease disposal or illegal garbage disposals.
Garbage disposals generally are illegal in the beach, although people who had them before the city banned them were allowed to keep them.
Code compliance issued the building a warning, Carpenter said. If the situation does not improve, the building will be fined.
C&D Miami Rent, the company that owns the 20-unit apartment building, could not be reached for comment. Several phone calls and messages to the company’s listed number were not returned.
Samberg is frustrated that the city does not take responsibility for the problem. She lives on the ground floor and said that she has been having problems with the pipes in her building backing up for over six years. She has had to snake her drains every few months to make sure her apartment does not flood. She believes the back ups in her apartment are related to those outside, and is frustrated with the situation.
“Where it’s coming out should not be indicative of whose responsibility it is,” Samberg said.
The city sewer lines were evaluated and found to be in good working condition in early 2013, according to Carpenter. He said the city is looking into ways to better educate residents on proper use of the sewer system and increasing enforcement.