DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The city of Delray Beach failed to disclose to the Florida Department of Health a report of a resident potentially getting sick from drinking water mixed with reclaimed water, according to a new report by the Palm Beach County Office of Inspector General.
The OIG was "unable to determine whether the reported illness was actually caused by the city's drinking water," according to the report.
The report states the OIG "found evidence that certain city staff were aware of at least one report of sickness caused by the drinking water at the time the city falsely reported to FDOH on December 19, 2018 that no reports of sickness or illness had been received."
The city's response to the investigation is included in the report, which notes a "breakdown in communication occurred with mid-level management" who did not notify upper management of the possible report of illness.
Contact 5 has asked the city of Delray Beach for a statement or comment in response to the OIG's report and is awaiting a response.
"What we looked at is, basically, who knew what when," Palm Beach County Inspector General John Carey told Contact 5.
Contact 5 has reported extensively on cross-connection issues with reclaimed water in the city.
In August 2020, Contact 5 obtained a warning letter the city received from the Florida Department of Health. The letter advised the city "of possible violations of law," with regards to the alleged false statements the city submitted in December 2018 claiming "no reports of sickness or illness have been received."
In October 2020, an outside review of the city's reclaimed water system found a "lack of institutional control," noting there was "a failure to have the appropriate resources, funding, oversight, policies and internal expertise."