Water quality, service become top concerns in Coral Springs

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Dyan Harpest had to get creative when a burst pipe meant no water for 12 hours at her Coral Springs restaurant in February.

“I (opened) at 6 in the morning and my employees are telling me there’s no water,” Harpest, the owner of Dyan’s Country Kitchen, said.

To stay open Harpest bought water from a retail source and tried calling her water provider, Royal Utility.

“When I made calls they wouldn’t answer. You couldn’t even leave a message,” she said.

Harpest said there was no official notification she needed to boil water for 48 hours and neighbors say they learned of the boil water order  from hand-painted signs. 

About 4,500 customers in neighborhoods near University Drive all get their water from Royal Utility, which is a private company.

“We pay a lot for the water but we don’t trust the water,” a resident said. “It just doesn’t taste good.”

It’s not just service that consumers are worried about, but water quality.

“There’s been instances where we had to throw out silverware and glasses because the silverware and glasses are stained,” Keith Roberts said.

County records show that in the past five years Royal Utility has had 14 health department violations and been fined $13,000 in violations including for operational problems like a storage tank  improperly connected to a drain for lime sludge.

The company was also fined for not notifying the community of high levels of trihalomethanes–or TTHMS–a contaminant that’s been linked to cancer. It’s the same violation we recently reported on in the city of Pembroke Pines water.

“Having bacteria in my water that I don’t know about is a big deal at my house,” Polly Torres said.

In March the company posted a notice saying the aging system needs major improvements. They had tried unsuccessfully to sell to the city of Coral Springs. and without that sale, the company…

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