Business owners say foul odor is driving away customers from up and coming area

Construction in Sunset Harbour causes strong hydrogen sulfide odor

By Derek Shore - Reporter

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - A foul odor is driving away business from an up and coming area of Miami Beach

"Sometimes it's really, really bad," Sardinia owner Tony Gallo said.

Gallo's restaurant is in Miami Beach's Sunset Harbour neighborhood.

He said despite beautiful weather, almost no one wants to sit outside because of the nasty smell outside that is similar to the scent of rotten eggs.

"I would say like 60, 70 percent of the time, we get this smell," Gallo said.  "It's Miami. People like to sit outside. Now it’s the season and, unfortunately, we can't."

The smell can be found for blocks in the upscale area.

"There's not a sewage issue," Miami Beach Public Works Assistant Director Roy Coley said. "We determined it’s a hydrogen sulfide smell that is associated with groundwater."

Hydrogen sulfide is dangerous in high concentrations, but Coley said it's benign at the level of what's being emitted in Sunset Harbour.

The naturally occurring gas is likely being unearthed by recent construction in the area.

"I think it will naturally reduce when there's less construction activity. That's what we're hoping for. As the construction ceases, we'll have less of it," Coley said.

But for Gallo, the smell is affecting his bottom line.

"I'm losing business because of that," he said.

City officials said despite their expectation of the gas going away to a large degree with the end of construction, they also said hydrogen sulfide is naturally occurring in coastal areas, and it's not impossible for people to get a random whiff after the dust has settled. 

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