City leadership grilled over 23 more water violations

WATCH: Channel 6 news report on state investigation

In the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) meeting in Tallahassee, state officials grilled city leadership over the results of the county and state audits, focusing on a range of financial and management issues. One line of questioning surrounded a recent warning letter from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) which cited the city with 23 additional violations, including fecal coliform and improper testing equipment at the water plants.

Among the findings, issued on December 1st, were fecal coliform exceeded the legal limit, total suspended solids (TSS) exceeded the legal limit, the city did not properly submit 2022 reports as required by law, and proper equipment was not in place to adequately test water samples.

This report comes on the heels of multiple consent orders against the city. State officials questioned the Mayor about why more was not being done to protect the residents, including firing the contractor who has been managing the water system.

“You’ve got a notice from the DEP of 23 more violations,” state Representative Mike Caruso asked Mayor McCann. “Why would you rehire this contractor?”

For his part, the Mayor insisted the city’s current approach should not be changed, saying the contractor is “the most qualified.”

In a follow up meeting, Senator Jason Brodeur mentioned the ongoing struggles with the water system as one of several reasons for referring the city for oversight by the Governor’s Chief Inspector General.