PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – The hazardous wastewater is at the edge of Martha Reyes' driveway — and there’s no avoiding it.
Standing water remains throughout the Chapel Trail neighborhood of Pembroke Pines.
Excess rainwater resulting from Tropical Storm Eta has overflowed backyard lakes and canals, and in some cases, forced raw sewage to spew from manhole covers and leaks in pipes from an overloaded system.
“It’s a big hassle, but this is very toxic,” Reyes said. “And the smell of the sewage...”
On Thursday, Pembroke Pines commissioners held an emergency flood meeting to address the problems that have led to hundreds of complaints from residents.
“You’ve got to think of the canal as if it was I-95 during rush hour,” Commissioner Angelo Castillo said. “And every drainage district, every community, every city, is trying to get on an on-ramp. We’re the last ramp.”
Utility and water drainage managers were front and center in the city commission meeting.
“We had 12-16 inches of rain in one day,” Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis said. “That is on top of a full month in October of rainy season. So the ground is already saturated.”
Families across central and southern Broward are being encouraged to use less water to help ease pressure on the system that’s draining water away.
Time and patience will be needed now, as engineers and city leaders work towards a long-term solution.
“We have families here that can’t flush their toilet,” Castillo said. “That’s just unacceptable.”