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Florida Department of Health to sue Delray Beach over alleged water violations

Agency, city unable to reach agreement on proposed consent order
City of Delray Beach water tower closeup
Posted at 2:22 PM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 14:22:17-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health will file a lawsuit against the city of Delray Beach to enforce the city's alleged violations of the Florida Safe Drinking Water Act after the parties were unable to reach an agreement on a proposed consent order, according to a DOH spokesperson.

The decision comes months after the DOH proposed a $1.8 million settlement agreement with the city over alleged violations with its Reclaimed Water Program.

New City Manager Terrence Moore told Contact 5 that the sticking point is over the financial outcome, but that the fine is less than what the DOH had proposed.

"We look forward to continuing negotiations with all involved to achieve a satisfactory resolution," Moore said. "We continue to engage with the proper authorities to get to that place."

State health officials accuse the city of nearly a dozen violations in the proposed consent order, including claims the city submitted false statements, failed to inspect connections and that more than 500 customers lacked backflow protection.

The proposed order, which Moore said is still being negotiated, also requires the city to comply with corrective actions, including issuing a public notice claiming the city "cannot assure utility customers that the drinking water produced and distributed met the standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act for the period from inception of the reclaimed water service, beginning in 2007 to the time reclaimed water was deactivated on Feb. 4, 2020."

A DOH spokesperson told Contact 5 the lawsuit will be filed in Palm Beach County circuit court, although a date for when that will occur was not given.

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