When visualizing the ideal Miami Beach scenery, people immediately think of warm weather, beautiful skies, and crystal clear waters. This image is one of many reasons why Miami Beach is such a highly visited area. We welcome approximately 6 million overnight tourists on an annual basis and have about 90,000 residents. This means that maintaining Biscayne Bay in pristine conditions is our priority. After all, it provides habitat for marine life and opportunities for recreation and tourism.
Updated on: September 22, 2021
In an abundance of caution, the city has issued a precautionary "No Contact" advisory for the waters near the locations listed below:
This advisory recommends not swimming or engaging in recreational water activity near this location until the advisory is lifted. Signage has been posted at public waterway access locations and the City is working closely with all governmental regulatory agencies to protect public health and the environment.
For more information, please contact the Environment and Sustainability Department at 305-673-7084. Please note that the city also alerts residents and visitors when “no contact with water” advisories are issued via e-mail, press releases, and posted signage.
If you would like to be notified directly of advisories in your neighborhood, please subscribe to the city’s e-newsletter here.
The City is working with Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) and other regulatory agencies to understand the cause of the fish kill event in Biscayne Bay. Early evidence suggests that the cause is a combination of extreme heat with numerous days of rain, which reduced oxygen levels in the water. The City's Environment and Sustainability Department is surveying the area and taking dissolved oxygen readings. The City is also using its waterway cleanliness contractor to collect and dispose of dead fish that are found. Updates will be provided as we better understand the cause and extent of this event.
Updates from Miami-Dade County can be found here.
Updated September 9, 2021
It should be noted that the manhole located at 4D tested 2,550 copies per 100 ml human gene biomarker. A direct sewage connection would be in the order of hundreds of thousands of counts of fecal indicator bacteria and associated DNA counts.
There is no evidence that there is a direct sewage discharge in the vicinity of the waterway. The City will continue to investigate all potential sources of fecal bacteria. The City will continue to coordinate with all regulatory agencies.
Residents are encouraged to pick-up after their dogs. Code Compliance will be issuing violations to individuals.
- Human Fecal Host Quantification ID Test Results Report
- Dog Fecal Host Quantification ID Test Results Report
The Biscayne Bay Marine Health Summit Steering Committee created guide for citizens to follow and help address the actions that can harm Biscayne Bay.
View or download the guide below:
Biscayne Bay Task Force Recommendations (Summary):
Biscayne Bay Task Force Recommendations (Full Report):
Fertilizers are added to soil in order to promote plant growth. Fertilizers provide plants, in varying proportions, three major plant nutrients: phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium. The excessive or incorrect use of fertilizer has been found to lead to algal blooms and can affect the quality of our water.
Learn more about fertilizers: Fertilizers and Biscayne Bay
To ensure that water quality standards are met, the City of Miami Beach applies a multi-facetted strategy. One of the most important components is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program, which was established under the 1972 Clean Water Act to address storm water pollution. Through this program, Miami Beach and other municipalities across the United States are required to minimize pollution from point sources, like stormwater outfalls, and non-point sources, like construction sites, by developing a comprehensive storm water management program.
Miami Beach shares one NPDES permit with other communities within Biscayne Bay watershed. Each co-permittee is required to develop and employ their own tailored stormwater management program to ensure their respective compliance with the provisions of our NPDES permit. The best management practices (BMP's) we implement in Miami Beach include
- education and outreach,
- good housekeeping,
- water quality monitoring
- use of cutting edge equipment and industry-vetted operational practices.
Together these elements reduce the pollutants that can be picked up by stormwater throughout our city and trap and remove a large percentage of those pollutants within our stormwater system. Also, each co-permittee is required to submit an NPDES Annual Report detailing the activities conducted under their stormwater management program, their anticipated success at preventing stormwater pollution, and justifying any decreases in stormwater pollution prevention efforts.
Learn more about NPDES and the City's reports, please click here.
Water testing in Miami Beach occurs for two different purposes:
- to determine whether our waterways are safe for swimming and recreation, and
- to monitor the health of our waterways.
Data collected for recreation is used by Miami-Dade County’s Department of Health (DOH) and the city to determine whether a “no contact with water” advisory is warranted. Data collected to monitor the health of our waterways is used to inform the city’s decisions in stormwater management and pollution prevention. This data-driven approach ensures staff time, resources and funding are directed to where they will have the greatest public and environmental benefit.
It should be noted that only sampling results processed in labs certified under the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) are used to make official decisions, such as issuing advisories or making operation adjustments. NELAP is one of 13 Accreditation Bodies in the United States recognized under the Florida Department of Health’s Environmental Laboratory Certification Program. To get certified under NELAP, laboratories are required to demonstrate that they have the capacity to produce high quality testing results in the interests of protecting the health and environment of Florida’s citizens.
- Sampling for Recreation
Sampling for recreation along our beaches is led by FDOH as part of the state-wide Florida Healthy Beaches Program. Every Monday FDOH collects water quality samples in the Atlantic Ocean at four established sampling points: the beaches in the vicinity of 1st Street, 21st Street, 53rd Street, and 73rd Street. At the request of the city, FDOH also samples the ocean water in the vicinity of 81st Street and at the public boat launch at Maurice Gibb Park on the Bayside. These samples are taken to a NELAP-certified lab where they are tested for enterococcus, a type of fecal indicator bacteria that is used to determine the potential presence of disease-causing organisms in saltwater. If enterococcus levels are present above the State’s recreational water quality standard for beaches of 35 CFU/100mL in a sample, the FDOH will issue a “no contact with water” advisory for the affected area.
2. Emergency Sampling
In the event of an environmental incident, such as a wastewater spill, the city will conduct water quality sampling. Sampling points are established around the known discharge point to determine the extent of affected waters. If enterococcus levels are present above the State’s recreational water quality standard for surface waters of 70 CFU/100mL, the city will issue issue a “no contact with water advisory” for the affected area.
The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) and the city to determine whether a “no contact with water” advisory is warranted. When a “no contact with water advisory” is issued, the city will re-test the affected location daily and will lift the advisory once enterococcus levels test below the respective State recreational water quality standard for two consecutive days.
Stormwater Management Bay Sampling
The City of Miami Beach conducts monthly water quality testing in Biscayne Bay at approximately 35 stations throughout the city’s waterways. These sampling locations were added voluntarily by the City as an extension of the larger Biscayne Bay sampling network, which Miami-Dade County has been monitoring on a monthly basis for more than 40 years.
Consistent with the County’s methodology, the samples are analyzed for physical (i.e., temperature), chemical (i.e., nutrients) and biological (i.e., enterococcus) parameters at a NELAP-certified lab. City staff reviews the sampling results as they come in each month, as well as annually to inform stormwater management decisions. The results are provided to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection each year as part of the city’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit Annual Report.
Data collected to monitor the health of our waterways is used to inform the city’s decisions in stormwater management and pollution prevention. This data-driven approach ensures staff time, resources and funding are directed to where they will have the greatest public and environmental benefit. It should be noted that only sampling results processed in labs certified under the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) are used to make official decisions, such as issuing advisories or making operation adjustments. NELAP is one of 13 Accreditation Bodies in the United States recognized under the Florida Department of Health’s Environmental Laboratory Certification Program. To get certified under NELAP, laboratories are required to demonstrate that they have the capacity to produce high quality testing results in the interests of protecting the health and environment of Florida’s citizens.