Miami Beach

Surfside neighbors protest sand dumped on their beach from construction site

Deborah Cimadevilla, left, Larisa Alonso, center, and Jose Toyos were among a group of Surfside residents protesting Friday, July 3, 2015, in Surfside, Fla., against what they say is toxic construction materials being dumped on the beach.
Deborah Cimadevilla, left, Larisa Alonso, center, and Jose Toyos were among a group of Surfside residents protesting Friday, July 3, 2015, in Surfside, Fla., against what they say is toxic construction materials being dumped on the beach. EL Nuevo Herald

The sand saga continues in Surfside, where a group of residents gathered Fourth of July weekend to call for the removal of sand dumped on their beach from a construction site last year.

Demonstrators say they have found construction debris in the sand dumped March 2014 from a work site at the Surf Club condo/hotel at 9011 Collins Ave. Real estate investment management company Fort Capital dug up the sand and spread it on the beach, in accordance with Florida law.

But residents claim the sand is dirty and want it cleaned.

Town Manager Guillermo Olmedillo said that the Surfside commission instructed the developer to remove the sand at its May meeting.

“The developer and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are working to get a an amended consent order, which describes what it is the developer has to do from now on,” he said.

In a June 23 letter sent to the commission, Olmedillo explains that turtle nesting season may prevent immediate removal of the sand.

“Turtle nesting season in our region begins on May 1 and ends on November 1 of each year. This creates limitations on the work that can be undertaken in order to protect the nest areas during this period,” he wrote.

The residents and city officials have been discussing this issue for more than a year. Frustrated with the sand situation, longtime resident Deborah Cimadevilla hired attorney Bob de la Fuente to represent her.

Cimadevilla and other residents want the developer to remove all of the sand that was placed there during the construction. They also want it removed sooner than later.

“For us, the residents of Surfside, that is not acceptable as this material is extremely hazardous,” Cimadevilla said.

According to de la Fuente, residents are asking for minimum of between 20,019 and 24,064 cubic yards of sand to be removed and replaced, as well as the removal of all debris.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the amount of sand residents want removed.

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