Concerns over drinking water in Riviera Beach

Posted at 11:44 PM, Apr 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-26 05:17:51-04

At a special public meeting over ongoing water concerns in the city of Riviera Beach citizens learned chronic issues with the city's water supply go back to at least 2010.

That information lead to more than two hours of public comment. Citizens telling elected leaders they want the water system fixed and they want someone held accountable.

There is no definitive evidence that Riviera Beach's water is not safe to drink. However, the water system has chronic and continuing issues with keeping chlorine levels up to minimum standards.

In January 2016, for example, the city reported zero for chlorine levels according to the Department of Health and water utility director Lou Aurigemma. That allows potentially dangerous bacteria to grow in the water.  Yet, the city's water utility has repeatedly failed to warn the public as required, not only about low chlorine but also, about the presence of bacteria.

It's one of the major reasons why people packed the public meeting at city commission chambers inside the Riviera Beach City Hall.

Expressing that they don't trust what they're being told by the Department of Health, city leaders or the water utility.

It's also one of the major reasons why Mayor Thomas Masters recommended that water utility director Lou Aurigemma be relieved of his duties immediately.

City Manager Ruth Jones says director Aurigemma is her employee. She says she has discussed Aurigemma's fate with him and that will be released at a special meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall.

The hope is that the Riviera Beach city Commission will also announce and vote on a specific plan of action for correcting the cities chronic issues with chlorine levels and public reporting requirements.