Boil water advisory rescinded in Atlantic Beach

Report: Municipal well tested positive for E. coli last week

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - A boil water advisory has been rescinded for Atlantic Beach after E. coli was found in well water feeding the municipal water plant.

City officials said one of Atlantic Beach's municipal drinking water supply wells tested positive for E. coli bacteria Sept. 3. As a result, the treatment plant served by the well has been taken offline.

Officials said the well water where the bacteria was discovered goes through treatment with chlorine, which likely would have killed the bacteria, but the boil order was issued as a precaution.

"What we have is an E. coli positive sample in one of our drinking water wells," said Donna Kaluzniak, Atlantic Beach's public works utility director. "The well goes through the treatment process, including disinfection. The samples in the distribution system all tested fine."

A boil water has still been issued until further notice, requesting all Atlantic Beach residents let tap water boil for a minute and cool before using for drinking, ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation. Residents can also use bottled water as an alternative.

Channel 4 was not notified of the boil water advisory and several Atlantic Beach residents said they did not know about it either. Atlantic Beach police confirmed overnight that the city manager told them about the advisory.

Residents who found out about it Tuesday are wondering why the notice of the boil order didn't come sooner and was publicized better.

Atlantic Beach City Manager Jim Hanson said the water testing lab that the city is contracted with that detected the E. coli did not notify the city until Friday via voicemail, and that wasn't checked until Monday.

Hanson admits his office should have notified the Jacksonville media rather than just the local Atlantic Beach newspaper, which has a very limited reach.

Tracy Fout is ready to give Atlantic Beach elected officials an earful after learning they neglected to notify the public about E. coli detected in well water.

"I've been doing laundry, I had bathed the girls, she brushed her teeth, she drinks the tap water often," Fout said.

She said the mixup at City Hall put her two daughters' health at risk.

Alexandra Moreland left City Hall fuming Tuesday, saying her 2-year-old daughter is sick.

"It was water and juice mixed together, and 30 minutes later she threw up," Moreland said.

Hanson said the city will be reviewing their agreement with the lab and said the city has had a "firm" conversation with them. He said the city is reviewing and plans to change its notification process.

Hanson wants the public to know that the water residents consumed over the last week was treated with chlorine, which kills the E. Coli. He's unsure how E. coli ended up in the water system, saying there's a slim possibility that it is in Florida's underground aquifer.

Hanson also said it's possible the lab results were inaccurate.

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