In order to adapt to changes in sea level and flooding events, the city is upgrading its gravity-based stormwater infrastructure with tidal control valves, pump stations and other innovative structures to improve drainage. Tidal control valves are an effective solution to the City’s flooding concerns because they prevent seawater from coming up through the pipes and onto the streets during high tides. Pump stations are equally vital because they quickly expel rainwater from urban areas, even when tides are high. These on-going drainage projects provide short-term flooding relief citywide.
Miami Beach is in the third of its five year stormwater infrastructure upgrade plan. The plan is estimated to be $400 million or more, the first $100 million of which were funded through stormwater utility fees. As of summer 2016, the city has installed approximately 25 pumps and is anticipating a total of 80 pumps to be active by 2018.
Flooding has a significant environmental, health, and economic impact, causing businesses to be inaccessible to customers and resulting in the additional cost of replacing and repairing damaged property. In addition, due to high groundwater elevation, drainage is slowing certain areas, requiring extensive periods of time to dissipate. This has caused some paved roads to deteriorate and/or fail, resulted in the creation of mosquito breeding areas, and intensified other public health issues. In response to this, the city has changed the stormwater criteria and required public roads and seawalls to be raised to meet a minimum elevation. The city’s comprehensive program of drainage improvement projects will alleviate chronic neighborhood flooding situations.