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04.06.07 -- REPORT: Water repairs to improve pressure failures, officials to meet with EPA


McIntosh Town officials will meet with the EPA next week to discuss the proper procedures to take when the town experiences water shortages and failures.

In a phone interview this evening, Council President Frank Ciotti said he thought the water system failures from the past week were under control.

"I think we're in good shape," Ciotti said. He said they replaced burnt-out parts on the switch. He also said town employees Paul and Melvin had been taking turns standing by the pump to make sure sure it stays operational.

Ciotti said a switch has been replaced on the pump.

"What happened was the starter switch on pump two kept failing," Ciotti said.

He said the town officials would go up to the pump and the switch would be cool and work while they were there. But then it would constantly go on and off and town officials wouldn't know why until they saw the water pressure going down.

In an emergency meeting on Monday, the council voted to spend $3,500 to fix the wiring and other expenses.

Ciotti said that he did not think the town needed to be under a precautionary water boil notice.

"We've asked that question," Ciotti said. "They [EPA] said they don't think so at this point."

Ciotti said that there's been no evidence of contamination, or a situation with the system that would cause it.

One of the challenges with issuing a precautionary water boil notice is that there is currently no way to contact all of the residents.

"If we have a problem, what should we do?" Ciotti said. "Have Paul ride around on a golf cart? Is Debbie supposed to dial 300 phones?"

He said the council held off on voting to buy an automatic dialer at the emergency meeting. The cost of the dialer would be another $3,500 - $4,000 on top of the current repair costs.

"We're looking for the best solution," Ciotti said.

He said that once a dialer is installed, if the water goes off or the water pressure gets down to 25 pounds, the dialer will go off and call everyone, telling them there's a potential water boil situation. Ciotti said while the advantage is that people will be notified, they might also have to deal with water boil notices at 2 a.m. if the water goes out at that time.

He said the dialer would be the council's attempt to do the best thing for most of the residents.

Ciotti said he's gotten calls from concerned residents about bubbles in the water. He said that's a result of the low water pressure and reiterated that they've been in contact with the EPA.

"They've told us to take no action," Ciotti said. "They're coming out on Tuesday about what to do and how to notify people."

Other residents called the blog and expressed concern that the EPA meeting with town officials is closed.

Ciotti said the EPA did not want to meet with the public, but with town officials. However, if more than one council member is present, then that meeting will fall under Florida's Open Meetings Laws.

This reporter plans to attend the meeting on behalf of town residents and has asked Ciotti to notify her regarding the time and place of the meeting.

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posted by Cher @ 9:52 PM,


At   April 09, 2007 9:09 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Do you think that the council or clerk will tell us the time and place or should we just call the EPA?

At   April 09, 2007 9:23 AM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

I e-mailed Frank and Debbie this morning. Let's see what they say.


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I'm Cher From McIntosh, FL I'm a graduate student at the University of Florida working on a master's degree in Mass Communication. While I was finishing my undergrad degree in journalism last year, I reported on McIntosh, Fla. for an in-depth reporting class. I figured that the reporting and the public record files should go somewhere people can access them. Reporters don't report to keep the information they find to themselves. Some of that reporting is included here in a forum that allows response. McIntosh suffers because with no news coverage, the local government and the rumor mill have too much potential to run rampant over residents. I moved to McIntosh in the fall of 1999. My profile

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