County environmental officials issued Miami Beach a cease and desist order after the city used temporary storm water pumps without permits during this week’s higher-than-expected high tides.
According to an email sent Tuesday by a county Environmental Resources Management (DERM) official to current commission candidate Isaiah Mosley, who had inquired about temporary pumps, DERM asked contractor Lanzo Construction working on Dilido Island to stop pumping pooled storm water straight into Biscayne Bay through a storm drain. The contractor is doing infrastructure work on the Venetian Islands.
“They have been instructed by DERM to cease & desist from any further pumping into the bay without the requisite permit and controls,” wrote John Ricisak, a DERM supervisor.
The city was also asked to stop using two temporary pumps on Dade Boulevard.
In a statement Thursday, City Manager Jimmy Morales said the city had applied for permits but couldn’t get them in time to deal with the high tides earlier this week, which flooded areas like Indian Creek Drive south of 41st Street.
“It is true that DERM issued a cease and desist order last night with respect to the temporary pumps. However, a permit had been applied for, but the process had not been completed,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, given the unexpectedly extreme high tides these past few days, we could not wait for the permitting process and rolled out the temporary pumps and additional mitigation efforts.”
Morales added that the city is working with DERM to develop plans in the future to quickly deal with flooding in the future.
New permanent pumps have already been installed in South Beach, on West Avenue, Alton Road and in the Sunset Harbor neighborhood in projects done by the Florida Department of Transportation and the city.
The city has plans to place more than 50 permanent pumps throughout the city during the next five years to mitigate flooding issues.