Days after a system breakdown resulted in higher levels of chlorine for about 250 Deltona Water customers, elected officials said they did not know about the situation in real time.
“We had a utility plant that had a well that stopped pumping water,” Deltona Deputy City Manager Charles Cooper told the City Commission April 1.
Though pumping ceased, automatic chlorination of the water continued.
“It caused a slight increase in the chlorine in the water,” Cooper said. “We had 12 complaints.”
Cooper said the failure occurred at the water-treatment plant near Omaha Drive and Lake Helen Osteen Road in the northeastern part of Deltona, beginning Wednesday afternoon, March 27. He said there are “about 20” water-treatment plants throughout Deltona.
That particular plant was taken out of service, and Cooper said it will remain so.
A few customers called Deltona Water regarding the chlorine, and utility workers went to one home.
“We did pull a test sample from that house, which showed an increase in the chlorine in the water,” Cooper said. “Once we shut down the plant, our crews went out and offline so we can do a complete inspection.”
Utility crews “flushed the system” to reduce the chlorine in the water that would flow to the homes and businesses, he said. That flushing continued Thursday, March 28, according to Cooper.
Even with the plant offline, the extra-chlorinated water could have reached homes through interconnects in the water system.
Cooper assured the City Commission the chlorine levels “at no time exceeded a safe level.”
The plant in question is in City Commissioner Loren King’s district, District 1, and he said no one within the city administration contacted him about the matter.
“I found out the next morning when I went on Facebook,” King added.
City Commissioner Anita Bradford echoed those words and complained about the lack of communication.
“I would love to have a phone call,” Bradford said, noting City Hall should alert the water customers affected by the extra-chlorinated water.
“We don’t have the capability to do selective robocalls. We did put information up on the website,” Cooper said.
“I think we need to do something … just so that we have some idea when we start fielding phone calls,” King said.
Flushing of the water system continued Wednesday evening, and more flushing took place the following day.
“We did receive about eight calls. They said they could smell chlorine,” Cooper said.
For future events and occurrences that may raise concerns among residents, Mayor Heidi Herzberg suggested Deltona set up a hotline to give information to those who have questions.