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Riviera Beach alerts residents about potentially harmful bacteria in water

Posted at 11:17 AM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 23:15:58-05

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Recent tests have revealed the presence of potentially harmful bacteria in Riviera Beach drinking water.

The city posted a letter on its website on Dec. 14 saying certain water samples tested positive for coliform, which are bacteria found in the environment, including in animals and in fecal matter.

The city said of its 42 routine monthly water samples in November, more than 5 percent, or three samples, tested positive for coliform.

The letter said the coliform themselves are not generally harmful, but this can be "an indicator that other, potentially harmful, waterborne pathogens may be present or that a potential pathway exists through which contamination may enter the drinking water distribution system."

The city said if the issue is inadequately treated, the water may contain disease-causing organisms that can cause diarrhea, nausea, cramps, and headaches.

The city said residents do not have to boil their water, but added this warning:

If you have a severely compromised immune system, are pregnant, or are elderly, you may be at increased risk and should seek advice from your healthcare provider about drinking this water. You should also seek advice from your healthcare provider about using the water if you have an infant.

The Palm Beach County Health Department said additional testing was required, and those samples all came back clean.

Both the Health Department and a spokesperson for the city said the water is safe, and they've taken additional steps and methods to correct the deficiencies.

The city told WPTV the letter was sent to every customer over the course of six billing cycles, so not everyone received it at the same time.

WPTV's Ryan Hughes is working this story, and will have more throughout the day online and on air.