By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – Amidst all the COVID-19 news, the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department (PBCWUD) announced the publication of its 2019 Annual Water Quality Reports for both the eastern and western communities on Friday, May 15th.
The PBCWUD reported no violations during the 2019 calendar year, however it missed an issue the City of Delray Beach had in November 2019.
Approximately 600,000 residents are served drinking water by PBCWUD with, as well as reclaimed water and wastewater services. The reports are available online and feature results from more than 80,000 laboratory tests of PBCWUD’s drinking water.
However in the City of Delray Beach 2019 water report, it notes “In November 2019, one of our thirty source water wells sample returned a positive result for the fecal indicator, E.coli.” Then the report goes on to clarify the relatively small impact and details on the testing.
The Delray Beach report admits “Due to administrative oversight during a busy part of the year, our office failed to submit a report required under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This violation had no impact on the quality of the water our customers received, and it posed no risk to public health.”
The issue is related to the Reclaimed Water program, leading the City to implement a cross connection control plan in 2005. “Our records for cross connection control and backflow prevention were recently found to be inadequate,” states the Delray Beach Water report.
Adding, “The City has been working with the Palm Beach County Department of Health (DOH) since January 2020 to ensure adequate record keeping and implementation of cross control and backflow prevention and anticipate achieving compliance on this by May 2020.”
As for PBCWUD, their report confirms, “In accordance with the Florida Administrative Code 62-555.360 and the Safe Drinking Water Act, Palm Beach County Water Utilities has an established Cross-Connection Control program.”
Stating, “All backflow prevention assemblies are tested annually to ensure protection from cross-connections and backflow of contaminants into the distribution system.”
PBCWUD’s drinking water is drawn from wells extending approximately 150 feet underground into the surficial aquifer, providing water that is free of the microorganisms sometimes found in lakes and rivers.
The water is withdrawn from the wells and transported to the water treatment plants. At the plants, treatment technologies are used to treat the water, and disinfect prior to entering the distribution system.
PBCWUD has the capacity to produce over 100 million gallons per day of drinking water for county customers.