Don’t be alarmed, South Beach residents. The suspicious substance covering a Bay Road sidewalk -- you know, the one that smells like shit and looks like what went down your toilet -- is not what it seems.
So says Mike Alvarez in explaining the stinky water with gobs of paper that spews onto a Bay Road sidewalk between 14th and 15th Street after tropical downpours. Alvarez, Miami Beach’s assistant public works director, blames the muck on a malfunctioning storm water drainage pump. “People think it’s sewer, but it’s not,” said Alvarez, who is on 24-hour that-shit-shouldn’t-be-there watch and has been notified about the spot.
Kat Weakley, a 45-year-old travel consultant, was one of the latest disgusted residents to call the city to squawk about the malodorous sidewalk she uses between her home and a supermarket on Alton Road.
“The guy was like, ‘Yeah, we know about it but we don’t know what to do about it.’ I’m like, ‘That’s your job.’ The total lack of concern absolutely floored me. There’s shit flowing down the street! It’s just ridiculous,” said Weakley, referring to someone named Ben who, she says, shrugged her off.
That’s Ben Cui, a public works control room operator.
“He probably said, ‘Yes we know about it but we can’t do anything about it,” said Alvarez, in his subordinate’s defense. Apparently the new one-year-old pump gets overloaded and water and trash that once went in the storm water drain spew up and result in a stinky muck. In more bad news for South Beach walkers: you’re in for a smelly storm season. Alvarez says the pump will get fixed “hopefully, by the end of the year.” --Janine Zeitlin