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Danger In The Sand: Miami Beach Votes To Secure Control Over Sand

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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — The City of Miami Beach voted to secure some control over the donation of sand to its beaches- which are owned by the state of Florida.

On the heels of  a CBS4 report exposing the hazard of sand turning up contaminated with construction debris, leaders took steps Wednesday to prevent it from happening again.

Chief Investigator Michele Gillen continued the series and tried to unravel what went wrong.

Related: Danger In The Sand: Sifting For Answers

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine was very direct in his worry over what is considered the number one asset of his city – sand.

“We don’t want any sand that has obviously any problems or issues. Our people are very concerned about it,” Levine told CBS4 Chief Investigative Reporter Michele Gillen.

At City Hall, all eyes and attention were  focused on sand. While no local or state authorities report having unraveled what exactly went wrong in the delivery of donated sand that came from the excavated site where Chateu Fendi now stands, a resolution passed Wednesday giving the city some control over what sand it accepts. Essentially, city representatives say, developers will  have to prove it’s “clean.”

Elizabeth Wheaton, in charge of the office of environment and sustainability for the City of Miami Beach spoke before the commission and met with Gillen after the vote.

“We are very happy over the passing  of this resolution,” said Wheaton.

The resolution – sponsored by Commissioner Michael Grieco – that was voted upon was against the landscape of two sand donations that turned up with construction debris. The other sand was excavated from the redevelopment of the Surf Club and deposited nearby in Surfside.

“This is a reactive piece.  Something wrong happened. We still don’t know what,” said Grieco looking to better protect the beaches he says.

According to records , Coastal Construction – the construction company hired to “clean” sand in the Chateau Fendi project, was the same construction company that was hired to clean the sand in another high profile project just steps from the Surf Club.

Both projects and what occurred during the process of shifting the sand is now under review says Jamie Monty of Miami Dade county’s office of environment.

“Yes. We need answers as to why it happened so that it does not happen a third time,” Monty told Gillen.

CBS4 reached out to Coastal Construction for their perspective on the Surf club sand donation. They referred us to the developer and CBS4 awaits their response.  Regarding the issue  of sand cleaning and donation in the chateau Fendi case, Coastal Construction provided CBS4 this statement:

“­The original remedial work done on Fendi Chateau Residences was done to Department of Environmental Protection Guidelines. Due to small particles that got through the sieve, a second round of remediation work was completed and we are awaiting DEP approval. Coastal remains committed to minimizing environmental impact on its job sites and is proud of its good standing and track record.” 

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