Most components of a stormwater pump station are located underground. However, the electrical panels are one of the main elements situated at a higher elevation of approximately 1-2’ above base flood elevation. This is based on FEMA’s (Federal Emergency Management Agency) 100-year flood data .
One of the considerations in having an electrical panel elevated is that it’s made stormwater pump stations very visible structures. Although the utilitarian design of the panel is fitting within commercial areas; when placing it in residential areas with single family homes, it doesn’t necessarily match the appearance of neighborhood. To address these issues, the city has taken steps to help reduce the footprint of this structure.
Because electrical panels are governed by building codes, there are certain electrical standards that limit its design. Miami Beach is working with Cultural Affairs and their Art in Public Spaces program to find innovative solutions to minimize the structures’ industrial look. Another option that has been explored is the incorporation of vegetation to block or shield the structures. In the lower North Bay Road neighborhood, one of the pumps was decorated with shrubbery to help disguise it.
In 2017, the Public Works Department identified the need to improve the existing pump station systems in the event of power failure during a storm event in the city. Any occurrence of power failure required an immediate response from the Infrastructure Division to ensure that the drainage system will protect the area from flooding. Therefore, the city is installing permanent emergency generators for the pump stations in Sunset Harbour. In preparation for severe storm events, Public Works deploys temporary emergency generators to all the pump stations in the city.