Pembroke Pines replacing system to filter water, mayor says

Mayor says water should test fine within a couple of months

By Ian Margol - Reporter

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. - Local 10 News reporter Ian Margol spoke Thursday to Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis to clarify what the city is doing to fix its water issue and how quickly it'll be done.

"(This is the) first time in 21 years I've been in office (that) we had a problem with our water," Ortis said.

Ortis has been faced with a lot of questions over the last few weeks after reports that the city's drinking water had levels of contaminants that were higher than acceptable, according to the Department of Health.

The city commission held a meeting Wednesday night to try and calm some of the concerns that have been raised since then. But some questions still remain: What exactly is the problem? How will it be fixed? And how long will it take?

According to the Department of Health, levels of contaminants left over from regular maintenance to disinfect the city's pipe system tested too high, and could cause a higher risk of cancer.

Health officials said that means the water in Pembroke Pines cannot be considered safe to drink, although the city said residents should know that it doesn't mean that the water is unsafe either.

In fact, a spokesman from the city said the levels in question have balanced out, and over the next few months, they expect the numbers will return to normal. Once cleared by the Department of Health, they can then be re-classified as safe again.

Ortis said the city is replacing its system that is used to remove unwanted minerals from the water and make water clear.

According to the city, the process for changing out that equipment is already under way.

The Department of Health recommended three different ways of removing the contaminants and said the fix the city is making may only fix the water's color.

The city is bringing in an independent lab to do a full review of their water quality.

Ortis believes that a lot of the fears surrounding the water issues have been blown somewhat out of proportion.

"The Department of Health said that unless you're in a couple of categories and you feel that you must go to your physician, otherwise go about our normal business," he said.

Concerned residents can call a hotline set up about the water issues at 954-518-9090.

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