Following fear of toxins, Palm Beach must explore all options for water supply

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Don’t drink the water.

It was the warning in late spring, but it was not given to anyone about to embark on a trip overseas. He came from the town of West Palm Beach, which supplies the island with water.

It also arrived late – very late, eight days to be precise – after the city discovered the toxin cylindrospermopsin, produced by blue-green algae, in its water supply. Palm Beach officials were furious at the time of the lack of communication, a position that did not appear to fade until about a month later, when on June 28, West Palm Beach agreed to share its results from water sampling and analysis.

Since, a new panel, which includes representatives of the city, also began to study the water quality of West Palm.

Following:Palm Beach accepts additional $ 100,000 for water supply feasibility study

The incident left a bad taste in the mouths of city officials. It’s no surprise, then, that city council agreed this month to spend $ 100,000 in addition to the $ 316,380 already approved for engineering firm Kimley-Horn to study water supply options. from the city.

Chief Executive Officer Kirk Blouin said the additional funding would pay for the information the city needs that is beyond the scope of the original contract, which looked at the pros and cons of 10 options, including the city developing its own distribution system. ‘water and negotiating with another municipality. .

Although the 30-year contract with West Palm Beach does not expire until 2029, city officials are smartly considering their options well in advance.

That said, will the city discover something it doesn’t already know? It is too early to tell. But such an effort came to naught the last time the city revisited its options years ago, mostly because of prohibitive costs.

Despite this, we believe that in light of the water debacle earlier this year, the city would be derelict if it didn’t look again. At the very least, if officials decide to negotiate a new contract with West Palm, they should insist on a concrete system of checks and balances so that Palm Beach can no longer be left in the dark.

Residents should never have to worry about whether it is safe to drink water again.

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