Riviera Beach water utility fined $10,000

Riviera Beach water utility fined $10,000

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The FOX 29 Investigators uncover what the Department of Health says is the largest public water concern in Palm Beach County in nearly a decade.

Florida's Department of Health has fined Riviera Beach's Utility District $10,000 for a list of violations over the last two years. It includes failing to report lead and copper results, failing to warn the public of bacteria in the water and consistently failing to meet minimum chlorine levels.

The FOX 29 Investigators obtained documents from the Department of Health showing the Riviera Beach Utility District has struggled to keep minimum levels of chlorine in dozens of areas over the last two years.

In March 2015 records show 20% of all water and Riviera Beach's system tested positive for bacteria, but no one in Riviera Beach was ever warned.

"In this particular instance they had a failure to notify their community," said Tim O'Connor from the Department of Health Palm Beach County office.

O'Connor says with bacteria levels four times higher than state and federal limits Riviera Beach was required to issue a boil advisory but for one reason or another did not.

FOX 29 reached out to city leaders and the executive director for the utility district looking for answers but we were told no one was available to speak with us.

When we showed up to the water utilities offices unannounced we learned that administrators were in a meeting at the city manager's office trying to determine how to respond to our questions.

FOX 29 received this statement shortly afterwards:

The City of Riviera Beach Utility Special District, as part of operating a public water treatment plant, is required to provide monthly water samples to the Palm Beach County Health Department.

There are ongoing concerns with the water system in Riviera Beach. The Department of Health confirms that it recently sent two more warning letters to the city's water utility for low chlorine levels and positive bacteria tests. We will be following up with city leaders and the utility for more answers.

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