Pompano Beach community meeting focuses on cleanup efforts following sewage spill

Pompano Beach community meeting focuses on cleanup efforts following sewage spill

Source: https://wsvn.com, January 16, 2019
By: Walter Morris

Residents of a Pompano Beach neighborhood aired their grievances at a community meeting following a massive raw sewage spill that has polluted the city’s waterways.

Members of the community sounded off at city and county leaders during the meeting on Wednesday, where an update was given on cleanup efforts.

Representatives of the Florida Department of Transportation and environmental experts were also in attendance.

Officials said an FDOT contractor broke a 42-inch sewage pipe while drilling near Interstate 95 and Northwest 15th Street, on Jan. 4.

For almost a week, more than 30 million gallons of raw sewage leaked into the canals, killing fish and turtles.

The sewage spill also created an awful smell that has residents complaining.

“It smells like everything is rotting, [like] if you walk into a public bathroom but like 20 times worse,” said Mel Schmittendorf, a concerned resident.

More than 70 aerators are being used to help the natural organisms break down the bacteria in the water.

However, city leaders told residents they have no idea how long it will take to bring everything back to normal.

“Each day, we are testing the waters that are impacted, all the way from out of the site itself, all the way through Garden Isles and Snug Harbor,” said Pompano Beach Mayor Rex Hardin at the meeting.

While many residents are also concerned about the long-term impacts on the environment and property values, officials said they won’t be able to study the effects until the cleanup is completed and the water has been made safe again.

“Just more information about the health and whether or not it’s safe to go outside and float in the pool or walk your dogs,” said Pete Wynne, a concerned resident.

The city said daily water samples will continue to be collected until water levels return to normal.

In the meantime, residents are advised to stay away from the contaminated water.

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