McIntosh Mirror: Reflecting news in the Tosh

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Light-up McIntosh December 15

Light-up McIntosh will begin at the Civic Center at 6:30 p.m. The event will host Santa Clause and an area choir from six local churches will sing.

04.14.07 -- REPORT: DEP: McIntosh water absolutely safe, inspector visit result of complaints, water safe

By CHER PHILLIPS

A spokesman from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said in an interview on Thursday afternoon that an inspector visited McIntosh as a result of several complaints filed in late March about the town's handling of the water system.

Jeff Prather, DEP spokesman, said a DEP inspector came to talk to the town about the proper procedure for filing malfunction reports and water boil notices when the water system fails.

The Thursday meeting was closed to the public, or this reporter would have attended.

The McIntosh Mirror made a public record requests at the DEP's press secretary's office and again with Prather for all reports filed by McIntosh in the last few months. However, Prather said there no reports existed.

The DEP has no record of filed malfunction reports

Prather said that as a rule, when there is a malfunction with the water system the town should file a report with the DEP.

Prather explained that in late March, the the DEP received a complaint. One of the pumps failed and the town responded very quickly. Prather said he didn't know at the time if a water boil notice was necessary.

But he did say that the water is McIntosh is "absolutely safe" and that there is a tremendous amount of oversight that goes into maintaining the water's safety.

Prather said the reason the report hadn't been done was that the operator just didn't know
and that this was not uncommon thing for a town to experience.

"Get this clear: They have a very good operator there," Prather said.

He said the town's water supply is regularly checked for bacteria twice a month by a certified operator. Prather said that there will be testing of the town's raw water well, including a 20-sample survey.

"That doesn't mean that they're doing anything wrong," Prather said.

Prather also said he was "glad someone reported the complaints" to the DEP so the issues could be addressed.

In the town council meeting last Thursday, after an hour-long public hearing, followed by nearly three hours of council meeting, the council did not bring up the town's recent water concerns or make any updates to the town residents about the status of the water situation.

In the last fifteen minutes of the meeting, during citizen comments, resident Susan Phillips raised her hand and asked what was going on with the water.

"My water is yellow," Phillips said. "Sometimes I have water and sometimes I don't."

Councilman Lee Deaderick asked he she'd like him to respond.

"During the last water outage, we had an emergency meeting of which the minutes are available, and took some action to improve the quality of our services," Deaderick said.

"There was an inter agency meeting between our staff and the DEP this week and they discussed proper procedures for running municipal water supply. We were a little bit behind, but not a whole lot," Deaderick said.

"Actually, they're pretty satisfied with our whole system," Town Clerk Debbie Miller said. She said the town's reporting methods needed some attention.

"The reporting was the only thing they were upset about, not that they were upset," she said.

Dederick said the DEP was working with the town to improve the reporting systems and the town was working to improve the dependability of the water supply.

"The money's been spent and the equipment's been ordered," Deaderick said.

Mayor Marsha Strange, who attended the DEP-McIntosh meeting, said the DEP was satisfied with the town.

"So it's safe to drink when it's that color?" Phillips said. She said it was that color on Wednesday.

Deaderick said he thought it was that color from the hydrant flushing.

Phillips asked the council, "Why did they have to come out here?"

"Because she [Miller] filed a report, which we're supposed to do," Council President Frank Ciotti said.

The McIntosh Mirror made a public record request on Friday following the meeting from the town office by e-mail for any reports filed to the DEP by McIntosh since the DEP spokesman said the DEP never to have received any reports. Any records that become available will be posted.

Only when questioned directly by this reporter during citizen comments did the council talk about the complaints made that spurned the meeting.

"I think a complaint was filed and they did call and we met with them and they're basically very satisfied with we're doing," Miller said.

posted by Cher @ 9:16 PM,

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Editor

Editor and Publisher:

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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The primary purpose of this blog is to accurately reflect what happens in town public meetings and dispel rumors. I record the meetings and make them available for download. One of the goals of this blog is to offer residents a place to voice opinions. The comments, views and opinions expressed there are not necessarily those of the editor.

 
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"A Popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." - James Madison, 1822

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