Study: Miami Beach King Tides Flush Human Waste Into Biscayne Bay

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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) —  Pumps that flush floodwater out of Miami Beach and into Biscayne Bay during seasonal king tides are dumping something else – human waste.

According to a new study that looked into the water discharged from the pumps during the 2014 and 2015 king tides, live fecal bacteria was found and it was well above state limits, our news partners at the Miami Herald reported.

In one case, the levels were more than 600 times the limit.

Some of the fecal matter was dog waste but scientists found there were higher levels of human waste that they believe entered floodwaters from leaky old sewer lines or septic tank.

While its hardly unusual for human waste to be detected in urban floodwaters, scientists said finding it at such high levels in a city facing increased flooding due to rising sea levels is a cause for concern.

City officials argue the “snapshot” sampling isn’t something that is surprising during king tides. They also said the study doesn’t take into account the city’s efforts to educate residents and businesses about pollution. Not to mention, they said, that Miami Beach is replacing and upgrading sewage pipes.

Miami Beach currently floods about six times a year but that’s expected to change. In April, the Union for Concerned Scientists said with new sea rise projections, the island is expected to flood about 380 times a year by 2045.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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