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Coliform found in Port of Palm Beach drinking water prompts boil water advisory

Riviera Beach supplies water to port
Posted at 5:16 PM, May 16, 2024

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Port of Palm Beach workers received an email Tuesday telling them that a boil water advisory was issued "due to test results received from a potable water sample."

Word spread through Riviera Beach, which supplies water to the port.

The issue was addressed at a Wednesday night council meeting.

"We've had water scandals going back to 2016. We've had the other big water scandal earlier this year," Fane Lozman, a Singer Island resident and frequent critic of the city's administration, said. "Now we have one (scandal) at the port. Who is accountable for people's health?"

Fane Lozman speaks at a Riviera Beach council meeting held May 15, 2024.
Fane Lozman speaks at a Riviera Beach council meeting held May 15, 2024.

"I'm aware of a situation where they had a 'substance,' I'll say, in the water," Riviera Beach resident Jeffrey Jackson added during the meeting.

WPTV spent the day trying to find out what that substance is.

A Riviera Beach news release confirmed it was coliform that was found in the water of the Port of Palm Beach's main building.

Three water samples taken at the port were positive for coliform, a bacteria found in the feces of people and animals.

Jeffrey Jackson was among those who spoke at a Riviera Beach council meeting held May 15, 2024.
Jeffrey Jackson was among those who spoke at a Riviera Beach council meeting held May 15, 2024.

While Riviera Beach treats and pumps water to the Port of Palm Beach, the port has its own water distribution system.

The port distributes water to businesses and government agencies in the port's main building which houses businesses and government agencies.

A spokeswoman for the Port of Palm Beach said the water it supplies to cruise and cargo ships were not from the pipe in the building where the water tested for contamination.

She added the port does not supply water to the neighborhoods near the port.

A Riviera Beach spokeswoman said the city's utility district will attempt to disinfect the plumbing system at the port.

* An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the port did not supply water to cruise and cargo ships.

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