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Midway Water System issues update

| Staff Reporters
Midway Water System released a statement this morning regarding the cross-connection incident which caused unsafe potable water conditions for hundreds of residents in the Soundside Drive area. The incident has been ongoing for nearly two weeks and is still being rectified.

Midway Water System is committed to providing safe, reliable drinking water to our customers and takes any contamination of our water supply very seriously. In late September, around 430 residences of Soundside Drive in the Midway area of Santa Rosa County were impacted by a contamination of their water supply following the cross-connection of a single home’s sewage outflow to the potable water supply.

The cross-connection occurred when a private contractor, hired by a homebuilder to connect the new home’s sewage outflow to City of Gulf Breeze’s sewer main, misidentified the underground pipes and incorrectly connected to Midway Water System’s potable water line.

Many of our customers are understandably frustrated, as are we. We have worked non-stop to correct this serious error and ensure that our customers can be certain that the water supplied to their homes is safe. It is the unwavering policy of the Midway Water System to have an inspector on-site any time one of our water mains is tapped or connected to. In this instance, our pipes should never have been touched. As such, no notice was given to Midway Water System of the work being performed and so no inspector was on site.

Much speculation has occurred as to how such a cross-connection could have happened, especially in regard to the identification and color of different utility pipes. These are relevant questions that are being pursued, but it would be inappropriate to put forth any explanation before a thorough investigation has been completed.

We began receiving reports of low water pressure and clogged faucets on Sept. 25, and flushed the lines six times between Sept. 27 and Oct. 15. Midway Water System’s potable water supply is chlorinated in accordance with the Safe Water Drinking Act of 1996, and, under normal operation, flushing the lines is an effective way of disinfecting them.

At the same time, Midway Water System staff visited the affected homes to remove material from the faucet screens, shower heads and appliance filters. Midway flushed the area repeatedly, took samples for testing, and contracted two plumbing companies, Certified Plumbing and Boyd Plumbing, to assist with flushing homes and cleaning filters.

The cross-connection was discovered and immediately corrected on Oct. 18, and a boil water notice was issued to the affected customers. The contamination was contained to the area between 4115 Soundside Drive and 5012 Soundside Drive, including Nature’s Cove and The Waters subdivisions and adjacent streets. Higher-pressure lines along U.S. 98 and Nantahala Beach Road prevented the contaminated water from entering the greater Midway Water System.

Responding to Soundside Drive Cross-Connection

To date, Midway Water System, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the City of Gulf Breeze have obtained samples from 346 affected residences, leaving about 84 left to be tested. Midway Water System anticipates the results of those tests by Thursday, Oct. 28. As samples are found to be free of contamination, residents are being contacted directly by phone to inform them that their water is safe to use.

In the meantime, bottled water is being provided to affected customers at the Community Life Methodist Church, 4115 Soundside Drive, and will be available until the boil water notice is rescinded. Residents should continue to use an alternative water source until testing can be done in their homes to confirm the water meets all bacteriological standards.

Midway Water System is reimbursing impacted customers for the cost associated with the cleaning, repair or replacement of their in-house plumbing, as well as many in-home appliance and faucet filters. Midway does not believe that entire home plumbing systems require replacement. If a customer has scheduled service from a company other than Certified Plumbing or Boyd Plumbing, they should contact Midway Water System before work is performed to have their expenses approved for reimbursement.

Midway fully expects to recover its expenses from the parties at fault, but also realizes that our customers cannot wait for however long that might take to get potable water in their homes again.

For more information and the latest updates, please see the following resources:

Midway Water System Updates:

FDEP Advisory Page:

Sampling Results: