Florida sewage spills expected to worsen due to ageing infrastructure

Sep 10, 2020


Florida has recently experienced several large sewage spills and the issue is expected to worsen in the state due to its growing population, urban development, the climate crisis and ageing infrastructure that frequently cause existing wastewater systems to fail.

For example, between December 2019 to February 2020, more than 230m gallons of sewage spilled into waterways in Fort Lauderdale, the result of ageing water infrastructure.

State officials called the spills the worst on record in state history, as for years Fort Lauderdale diverted funds for needed sewage repairs and maintenance to other city budget needs. The city faces a $2.1m fine from the state for the series of spills.

“A lot of the issues in south Florida with sewage spills has to do with the infrastructure getting very old, much of it is beyond its planned life, usually around 50 years, so there are a lot of cracks in the sewage pipes,” said Dr Rachel Silverstein, a marine biologist and executive director of Miami Waterkeeper.

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