Mayor won't drink the water in Pahokee, residents concerned about recent testing

PAHOKEE, Fla. - Residents in The Glades are concerned by a notice they received informing them bacteria was found in some of the drinking water supply over the last three months.

According to a spokesman with the Palm Beach County Water Utilities, coliform bacteria was found in a small percentage of the water. He says the bacteria is not dangerous and should not impact people or make them sick.

The high levels of bacteria exceeded federal and state guidelines.

Pahokee residents posted photos to Facebook showing murky water coming out of their faucets.

Pahokee Mayor Colin Walkes says the county should have notified residents earlier about the bacteria, even if it is not considered dangerous.

"What I really took issue with is the late notification because we want to make sure citizens are making informed decisions about their day-to-day lives. We must do that as officials," Mayor Walkes said.

A spokesman with the Water Utilities said if it was an emergency situation, they would have immediately notified people.

The county's water treatment facility in the Glades is state of the art, and the mayor says old pipes in Pahokee are likely what allow the bacteria to get into the water supply.

"We have water that is totally brown sometimes. We have water that is cloudy at times. So we know as citizens we deserve better," Mayor Walkes said.

The county is set to spend twenty five million dollars over five years improving the water infrastructure around the Glades.

The County Water Utilities Dept. wants to make clear that the water is safe to drink and that no E Coli or harmful bacteria has been found in the water supply.

Some residents say they won't drink the water until new pipes are put in.

"I won't drink the water until something changes. I have plenty of bottled water," Pahokee resident Carol Peaden said.

A spokesman with the Health Department says they will continue reviewing water tests to make sure harmful bacteria is not present.