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Our water system recently violated a drinking water treatment requirement. Although this was not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened,
City of West Palm Beach Water Treatment Plant
Our water system recently violated a drinking water treatment requirement. Although this was not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened, what you should do, and what is being done to correct this situation.
On 15 June 2017, monitoring at the Combined Filter Effluent location exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 1.0 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) and returned to compliance within a brief time period. Despite the higher turbidity, there was no impact on the disinfectant residual at the plant or in the water leaving the plant as measured by continuous monitors. Bacteriological analysis of all the designated water quality sampling sites throughout the service area came out clean. The high turbidity (cloudiness) was caused while the plant was being put back in service following construction related activities that resulted in the water plant shut down.
Under the federal and state regulations the City is required to both filter and disinfect all water prior to its introduction into the drinking water system for your use.  These regulations establish continuous monitoring requirements for both turbidity (Cloudiness) and disinfectant residuals at several locations within the treatment process.  For turbidity, the City continuously monitors levels from each filter and at a point downstream of all filters designated the Combined Filter Effluent under the regulations.
What should I do?
  • There is nothing you need to do. You do not need to boil your water or take other actions. We do not know of any contamination, and none of our testing following the event has shown disease-causing organisms in the drinking water.
  • If you have a severely compromised immune system, have an infant, are pregnant, or are elderly, you may be at increased risk and should seek advice from your health care providers about drinking this water. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.
What does this mean?
This is not an emergency. If it had been, you would have been notified within 24 hours.
*Turbidity has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Turbidity may indicate the presence of disease causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.*
These symptoms are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experienced any of these symptoms from that day and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice.
What is being done?
The City notified the Florida Department of Health during the event and discussed the potential causes of the exceedance and response actions needed.  The City, in consultation with the Department of Health, determined that the exceedance did not trigger any immediate notification requirements or boil water advisories.  This decision was based on the continuous monitoring of the individual filter turbidity and disinfectant levels that demonstrated filter effectiveness and continued high levels of disinfectant within the treatment system were maintained during the event.
The City’s investigation found that the exceedance was not caused by any failure in the filtration or treatment system but rather by an unanticipated impact from the ongoing construction of the UV disinfection facility at the Plant. The City has continued to follow procedures for the contractor to avoid creating any future stirring up of the water during construction.
For more information, please contact City of West Palm Beach’s Hotline at 561-822-2222.
*Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.*