Brown water plagues expose fire hydrant maintenance failures

  • An Oak Forest resident posted pictures of brown water on social media
  • One resident described water color as “chocolate milk”
  • Water contained sulfur and iron broken loose due to non-maintained fire hydrants
  • Seminole County Commissioner demands accountability for city leaders, inquires about “which throat to choke.”
  • City leaders retaliated against Good Samaritan for raising health concerns, removing Brandon Morrisey from Oak Forest Board
  • WSCA President: chickens “coming home to roost” for city leaders

The failure of the City of Winter Springs to properly maintain its fire hydrants has raised public safety concerns and pumped brown water into the Oak Forest subdivision. After a local resident posted pictures of brown water on social media, the city explained the issue was caused by sulfur knocked loose by maintenance on fire hydrants.

The City of Winter Springs, which the state recently placed under the oversight of the Governor’s Office of Inspector General, has failed to maintain its nearly 1,200 fire hydrants for the last 3 years, according to testimony at last week’s city commission meeting. Seminole County Commissioner Lockhart raised public safety concerns and demanded accountability, saying it would be great to know “which throat to choke.”

Although the city maintains the sulfur and iron saturated brown water is safe to drink, the concerns raised by Commissioner Lockhart echoed those raised by Brandon Morrisey, an Oak Forest Resident, EMT and candidate for the Winter Springs City Commission. 

“Not only was I alarmed by the condition of our hydrants and the safety threat they pose in their current state,” Morrissey said, “I was left speechless that our current commissioners who have been representing us for the last 4-7 years had no idea they owned the fire hydrants.”

In the past, when Oak Forest residents experienced brown water, Morrissey attempted to warn people on Facebook, causing the city to retaliate by removing him from an Oak Forest neighborhood board.

“The dangerous combination of incompetence and malice being being demonstrated by city leaders resulted in our city being placed under the oversight of the Inspector General,” said Jesse Phillips, Founder of the Winter Springs Water Quality Initiative. “Our city leaders’ history of turning a blind eye to the public health and safety of residents are coming home to roost.”