Something’s rotten at an Aventura condominium complex.
For nearly four years, the foul odor of raw sewage from a nearby Miami-Dade County pump station has made life at the Landmark Club an unbearable stinky situation, according to a recently filed lawsuit.
The noxious fumes were so bad that the pipes in Landmark Club’s ventilation system cracked, causing it to fail, the building’s condo association alleges in its May 11 complaint against the county. The lawsuit accuses the county of failing to fix the pump station, and the association is seeking more than $1 million damages, including the cost of repairing the ventilation system.
A Miami-Dade spokesperson said the county doesn’t comment on pending litigation. Landmark’s lawyer, Francisco Tourron III, did not respond to requests for comment.
Residents of the Landmark, at 20185 East Country Club Drive, began complaining about sewage gas odors in the building in 2014, at about the same time that the building’s original ventilation system began failing, according to the complaint. The vent system was supposed to have a life expectancy until 2065, the condo association claims.
In June 2014, a professional engineer hired by the condo association reported that sulfur-bearing media was entering the pipes from the county-maintained sewer system. The fumes plugged the pipes with limescale that caused them to crack, the lawsuit states. The condo association claims it spent $1.6 million to repair the pipes and install a new vent system.
Two years later, another report by a professional engineer found that the new vent system was under pressure from sulfuric gases entering the building through the county’s main sewage pipe and that originated from a nearby pump station, Landmark alleges.
“The pump station’s supply was venting gases directly into the building,” the lawsuit claims. “In essence, its fan was moving in the wrong direction. After the precise cause of the problem was identified, Landmark attempted to mitigate its damages by opening temporary vents for the sulfuric fumes to flow through.”
According to the 2016 report included in the suit, Landmark’s investment into a new vent system would be “short-lived” if the county did not resolve the problem at the pump station.
The lawsuit states that the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department inspected the pump station on Feb. 17, 2017 and determined that the fan was not operational. The condo association sent the department’s then-director, Lester Sola, warning him that the county was putting lives in danger by not fixing the pump station fan.
“Such action brings about a very dangerous situation due to the possibility of methane gas buildup within the municipal sewer line as the airflow remains stagnant as absolutely no ventilation is present,” the letter states. “Due to the severity of this situation and the substantial damage to the association, immediate steps must be taken.”
Landmark’s lawsuit alleges the county has taken no steps to repair the pump station.