MARCO ISLAND — The City of Marco Island's water supply is safe, Jeff Poteet began. That said, Poteet, general manager of the water and sewer department for the city, detailed how the city is technically in violation of Florida Administrative Code (FAC) requirements for water quality monitoring.
As a result, city water customers will be receiving a notice in their monthly bills, as required by the code. With the utility system bills going out on a staggered basis, some have already been sent, and some will go out in the next billing cycle.
"We take monthly samples throughout the island," said Poteet. "During the month of May, utility sampling technicians collected 44 bacteriological samples" at random points throughout the city's system of water mains. One sample, collected of May 23 on Banyan Court, failed and tested positive for total coliform – bacteria – when the water was given the optimum conditions for the micro-organisms to grow, in a procedure called a "colony count."
In Regulation 62-550, the FAC requires three additional samples to be drawn within 24 hours in this situation, said Poteet, and "staff did not collect an upstream and downstream sample within the 24-hour timeframe." When the samples were collected, they passed, but the failure to re-check within 24 hours meant the violation must be reported to the Florida DEP, as well as notifying the utility's customers by two methods within 30 days. In addition to the notices in the utility bills, the department will post notices in the newspaper, said Poteet. He also sent an email to the city council and city manager, laying out the violation and the steps his department had taken to correct it.
"The integrity of our system is intact. The public health and welfare of our customers is staff's highest priority," said Poteet. "New measures have been implemented to ensure our system meets all rules and regulations as required."