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City of Riviera Beach releasing report of investigation into water quality

Posted at 7:38 PM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-22 00:17:54-04

The City of Riviera Beach has declared a state of emergency for it’s water utilities district, after a scathing report took a look at failures to maintain water quality in the city.

The state of emergency will allow the city council to have more direct involvement with the operation of the district - including hiring a new director.

Back in April, our Contact 5 investigation exposed the city struggled to keep minimum levels of chlorine in the water - this information kept from residents.

The report also details thousands of dollars in taxpayer money wasted.
 
The report concedes that the water wasn't compromised to the point where it was unsafe, but without intervention from health officials, it would have gone down that path.
 
It says former director Louis Aurigemma “Failed to manage the utilities district in a manner to ensure that it complied with all federal, state, and administrative water and waste water safety regulations.”

He was fired as a result of the findings.

In addition, multiple fines were levied against the water district, which the district paid, but the issues were never fixed.
 
The director refused to be interviewed for the report.
 
The report doesn’t put the blame square on Aurigemma, however.
 
The report says the utilities district hired consultants to advise on the water issues way back in 2011 - costing taxpayers nearly $1 million dollars
 
Those recommendations were never adopted.
 
The report says that failure, in addition to the other issues, falls not only on the director but also on the city manager, Ruth Jones.

The city will appoint a water utility task force to help search for a new utility director.

 

 

EARLIER STORY

The city of Riviera Beach is releasing a final report of an investigation into water quality in the city.

Back in April, a contact 5 investigation revealed that the city struggled to keep minimum levels of chlorine in the water over the last two years.

That led to unsafe levels of bacteria in the water

The water utility director was fired as a result of the findings.

The city hired a special legal council to address the water issues.

The report found the former director "failed to manage the district in a manner to ensure that it complied with all federal, state and administrative water and waste water safety regulations"

The city council is set to discuss the report at their council meeting Wednesday evening.

News Channel 5 will update this story as more information becomes available.

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