Post Hurricane Irma Update

Delivered Thursday, September 21, 2017 10:00AM:

Subject: Post Hurricane Irma Update from Your Waterkeeper


Miami Waterkeeper team assessing damages following Hurricane Irma in Coconut Grove.-Photo by MWK

As your Waterkeeper, we have been hard at work monitoring water conditions in and around South Florida since Hurricane Irma passed through. Now that our power is restored and our offices have reopened, we have some important updates for you from the field. Our watershed has suffered greatly, impacting public health, water access, and our marine ecosystems. Now more than ever, we need your help to protect South Florida’s waterways. Please join us and become a Miami Waterkeeper member today!


Post-Irma Updates:

  • Sewage Spills:
    • The Virginia Key plant leaked 6 million gallons of partially treated sewage on September 10th due to a power outage from the storm. We’re continuing to keep very close tabs on this facility with our legal action demanding the County fulfill its mandated upkeep of its aging and leaking sewage infrastructure.
    • Various other spills occurred due to Irma, including an almost 10,000-gallon raw sewage spill into the Black Creek canal and Biscayne Bay. Hundreds of thousands of gallons also leaked across Broward County, an estimated 300,000 gallons of sewage in Miramar alone. We are monitoring pollution notices and water quality results daily as incident reports are coming in and will continue to keep you posted via Facebook and Twitter.
    • Miami Waterkeeper’s expertise has been sought post-Irma regarding the pervasive sewage impacts from storm surge, flooding, and power outages. In our region, aging sewage infrastructure already struggles to handle our booming population. Storm events the size of Irma exacerbate these impacts, causing sewage backlogs, overflows, and unsanitary conditions.
Read our Washington Post feature here.
Read our Bloomberg News feature here

  • Pollution Reports:
    • Aside from sewage, we’re staying on top of other pollution risks and occurrences. We receive frequent citizen reports and encourage all to report debris, spills, or other possible pollution violations they encounter by contacting us at [email protected] or (844) 847-2295.
    • Post-Irma, we are especially watchful of oil and other spills from capsized or damaged boats and marinas, and ask citizens to report any incidents to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.
  floodbrickell.jpg Flooded street in the Brickell area of downtown Miami as Hurricane Irma passed through on Sept. 10, 2017.-Photo by Joe Radle/Getty Images
  • Swim and Boil-Water Advisories:
    • Now that more than a week has passed since Irma, most swim advisories have been lifted. Still, be mindful of debris in the water causing unsafe conditions, as well as pollution that has still yet to be reported. You may download Miami Waterkeeper’s free web or mobile app - Swim Guide for compiled Florida Healthy Beaches sampling data, to see if your beach is safe for swimming and fishing. This is active year-round.
    • Boil-water advisories remain in effect for certain South Florida neighborhoods, due to flooding of the treatment facilities, loss in water pressure in the distribution pipes, water line breaks, and power outages disabling water treatment. Follow our Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates. 
  • Ecosystem Impacts:
    • Unfortunately, just as Irma has wreaked havoc on land to our trees and wildlife, the powerful storm has inflicted damage to our marine ecosystems. Surveys are still underway to assess impacts to our coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass, and marine life. Miami Waterkeeper staff will be diving next week to survey some of our reef tract, and we have a number of clean-up activities planned in the coming weeks, listed below.
AnglinsfishingpierFTL.jpgLarge waves produced by Hurricane Irma crash into the end of Anglins Fishing Pier Sept. 10, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale.-Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Clean-Up Efforts and Events:
    1. Pick up trash while you raise a glass! Join us this Friday, September 22nd evening for a fun clean-up and pub crawl in Wynwood. Tickets for Keg & Klean are $20 and include a Klean Kanteen reusable cup that will be filled along the way by participating partners & will also get you a quarter back on every beer purchased at The Wynwood Yard when you bring your cups! Plus, you’ll get a free vodka drink with a canned good donation! Proceeds raised benefit Miami Waterkeeper and Debris Free Oceans. Get your tickets here!
    2. We're partnering with the City of Miami to help clean up Kennedy Park in Coconut Grove, which saw impacts from storm surge during Hurricane Irma! Join us this Saturday, September 23rd. Click here for details and to sign up.   
    3. Our International Coastal Clean Up event scheduled for September 16th, along with others across South Florida, were postponed due to beach closures and unsafe conditions. We have rescheduled our event for Saturday, October 21st on Virginia Key and invite all to join us for a day of hands-on marine debris removal. Click here for details and to sign up.
    4. We’ll be planning a number of other clean-up activities in the coming weeks to help our community and environment recover. Stay tuned for clean-up information at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.
 Become a Miami Waterkeeper member today to get exclusive event updates and reminders.

Boats and debris tangled in mangroves in Coconut Grove following Hurricane Irma.-Photo by MWK
  • Long-Term Resilience
    • All of us at Miami Waterkeeper continue to keep our thoughts with the community and neighbors impacted by Hurricane Irma. We know we are in the peak of hurricane season and that South Florida is particularly vulnerable to a number of challenges including tropical storms, sea level rise, climate change, and ecosystem decline.
    • We will continue our efforts to advocate for science-based policies and careful planning to better prepare for the future. We encourage you to please join us and help to ensure clean and vibrant watershed, resilient South Florida, and coastal culture for generations to come.

Become a member of Miami Waterkeeper today!
Our members enjoy added benefits including merchandise, invitations and discounts to special events, access to special content, and more! 

Donate to help keep our water swimmable, fishable, and drinkable!
We rely on community support to keep us going, as we work to defend, protect, and preserve South Florida’s waters.

9_9MIA.jpgThe Miami skyline view beginning to disappear as outer bands of Hurricane Irma begin to reach Florida on September 9, 2017, in Miami.-Photo by Joe Radle/Getty Images

From your Miami Waterkeeper, thank you for your continued interest and involvement.

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