Jul 12, 2021

West Palm Beach, Florida, to Share Water Data Following Outbreak of Algal Toxin

West Palm officials did not notify Palm Beach or issue a drinking water advisory until May 28.

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West Palm Beach, Florida, has agreed to share its water data following an outbreak of algal toxin in the water supply.

Palm Beach will no longer seek to conduct its own testing as a result, reported Palm Beach Daily News.

West Palm Beach provides water to Palm Beach and South Palm Beach. 

West Palm Beach agreed to share its sampling and water test results during a June 28 meeting with the town, according to Palm Beach Director of Public Works Paul Brazil, reported Palm Beach Daily News.

Palm Beach officials want to do their own testing after West Palm Beach officials took eight days to notify the town of toxin cylindrospermopsin detected in the water supply.

"Additional testing by the town is most likely not necessary at this time. City staff making the test results available to the town is a very positive outcome," said Brazil in an email, reported Palm Beach Daily News.

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The city invited town staff and consultants to tour the plant and review all sampling and test results.

Cylindrospermopsin was first detected in low levels May 3, and test results returned May 19 and 20 were above the threshold considered harmful for vulnerable populations, reported Palm Beach Daily News. In these instances, West Palm officials did not notify Palm Beach or issue a drinking water advisory until May 28.

This resulted in the Florida Department of Health sending a warning letter to West Palm Beach over the delay in reporting the levels of cylindrospermopsin. The letter from FDOH was sent to Poonam Kalkat, West Palm Beach's director of public utilities, listing four possible violations.

The city is disputing the state's letter, and the drinking water advisory was lifted June 4, reported Palm Beach Daily News.

Following a joint meeting late last month, the town and West Palm Beach agreed to create a panel of experts to address water safety concerns.

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