In May, Texas-based apartment developer Mill Creek Residential broke ground on a luxury tower in the Miami neighborhood of Edgewater. The 27-story Modera Biscayne Bay boasts a rooftop pool, digital package lockers, a Pilates studio, and "spectacular views of Biscayne Bay." But during construction, the builders have been cited for polluting the very body of water the owners tout in promotional materials.
Murky water from a stormwater outfall near the construction site for Modera Biscayne Bay (left) and new turbidity barriers to prevent pollution (right)
County records show
DERM first responded to the site June 21. During that
inspection, no violations were uncovered. But the next week,
DERM returned for a followup.
The June 26 report says the county's inspector was concerned that an existing storm drain was located on the construction site. Although the builders had placed a boom across the drain, "there was evidence [of] sediment flow towards it." The property owner was cited accordingly.
Peter Jakal, a spokesman for Mill Creek, denies the sediment in Althabe's photos came from the Modera construction site. But after meeting with the city's Public Works Department, the builders have taken precautions to prevent any future incidents.
"As we have only done minimal work on the site and the storm drain that is releasing the sediment is an existing shared drain, we and the city do not believe it is a result of work completed on our site," Jakal said in a statement. "However, out of an abundance of caution and with the city's agreement, we will be taking additional measures, including installing a turbidity barrier at the outfall and cleaning the storm sewer drain, to ensure that any event like this will not be a result of our site in the future."
Turbidity barriers were set up at the site shortly after DERM's visit. For Althabe, it's a good start but not a full solution. As Miami's rainy season kicks into high gear, he says he and other residents will be monitoring the site.
"This shouldn't happen again," Althabe says. "We'll see if it's going to be enough, but I don't think it will be enough."