Pembroke Pines, state at odds over city's water quality

Commissioner Jay Schwartz: Residents should be 'proud' of water quality

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – Pembroke Pines and the Florida Department of Health are in a back-and-forth over whether the city’s water is safe to drink.

The debate centers over the results of tests in one area of the city last year that showed high levels of contaminants in the supply. Those chemicals could lead to liver and kidney issues, even cancer. 

That fight was a talking point at the city's commission meeting on Wednesday. 

"Is our water safe to drink? I'm telling you, let's drink our water," Mayor Frank Ortis said. 

Felipe Ventura spoke at the meeting. 

"I'm wondering how quickly are we going to take this to a whole other level because I don't see the urgency I'd like to see on the issue," he said.  

The city sent out a letter to residents explaining the matter. They then sent a subsequent letter that said the water was safe to drink. 

That letter drew the ire of the state Health Department, which accused the city of being misleading residents. 

At the meeting the commission agreed to bring in a third party to take a look at the city's water system, including the results of the same that led to the current confusion. 

"This issue is important," Vice Mayor Angelo Castillo said. "It has to do with the water we ingest. No room for doubt."