Water Investigation Update: Veolia contractually agreed to address reclaimed water plant in 2019 in contract “carefully” reviewed by Commissioner Cannon

Below is a segment of the public testimony Kevin Cannon and the City Commission tried to BLOCK from being entered into the public record. This report is part of a series of reports of revelations stemming from the Winter Springs Community Association’s resolution which contained key admissions from the city, and a followup investigation. You can read all of our updates here.

UPDATE: Another revelation has emerged from last night’s investigation into our city’s recent water shortages. Documents provided during the investigation show Veolia (the Flint, Michigan water company) contractually agreed to address the reclaimed reclaimed water plant when they began managing our water plant back in 2019.

According to a letter provided by several commissioners asked to testify:

“Veolia was contracted not only to manage, operate and maintain the Lake Jesup plant, but it was contemplated that they would review the functionality of the Lake Jesup plant and plan for future use. Commissioner Cannon should certainly know this fact regarding Veolia. On more than one occasion, the Veolia contract has been before Commissioner Cannon…the Veolia proposal specifically references the functionality of the Lake Jesup Reuse Augmentation Plant and states that one of the key steps to be taken by Veolia was to perform an assesment of the Lake Jesup plant and determine how to operate it going forward. At the October 14, 2019 City Commission meeting where the Veolia contract was approved, Commissioner Cannon stated, ‘I like the contract, I mean I looked at it carefully.’ How could he not know about issues at the Lake Jesup plant?”

This seems to directly refute Commissioner Cannon’s assertions he did not know about the problems leading to the recent water shortages, and begs the question: why did current leadership not ensure Veolia met their contractual obligations to the residents to begin dealing with this problem back in 2019. Will they be held responsible for their contractual failures which led to the current water shortage and permit violations?

Background: The Winter Springs Community Association, as part of our Water Quality Initiative, made public information requests to investigate the city’s compliance with state water usage limits. We discovered the current city leadership, including Veolia (the Flint, Michigan water company) had not met state requirements to develop alternate sources of water and had not followed through on previous plans to address growing demand for water, and had put residents at risk during the recent water shortages. We applied public pressure which led to the passage of a recent resolution, in which the city admitted to 1) violating water use limits 2) not following through on prior plans and 3) failing to adhere to the SJWMD water initiative requirements.

Watch the video which exposed the water permitting violations leading to our recent water crisis here: