By Ryan Yousefi
Residents of the Falls of Parkland have united in a quest for improved water quality following a startling revelation from an independent water test, which yielded alarming results.
Imagine finding toilet water with a yellow color and a strange smell that wouldn’t go away. Then, picture the whole neighborhood reporting the same issue.
According to a resident in the community located in northeast Parkland, that’s the nightmare he and his neighbors are currently dealing with as the group struggles to get answers from Parkland Utilities, the company responsible for providing the development water.
“It all started with the Facebook posts,” Andy Kasten tells Parkland Talk, adding, “People were troubled by the yellow color and sulfur smell in their water. This wasn’t just a minor issue but a community-wide concern.”
Kasten says the community decided to tap into a resource they had at their disposal — a water expert. Having someone in the know on their side, the decision to conduct independent water tests was a collective response to the alarming observations.
“We couldn’t just sit back. Everyone was experiencing the same problem, so we took matters into our own hands,” Kasten said.
The test results weren’t good.
“The biggest issue was the lack of chlorine in our water. This means organic materials remain, posing serious health risks,” Kasten explained, his concern evident. “Imagine water so unsafe that a boil alert might be necessary. That’s what we’re dealing with.”
Frustrated with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) response, Kasten says not enough has since been done to not only ensure their water quality is improved but that the same situation won’t happen again for other communities being served by FDEP, which he says includes Cypresshead, The Mews, Cypress Cay, Parkside Estates, The Falls at Parkland, and Parkland Town Center.
In a Notice of Violation letter sent on December 13 obtained by Parkland Talk, Parkland Utilities acknowledges the issue to the community.
“To the area homeowners:
We are required by State and Federal regulations to maintain a chlorine residual of 0.6 mg/L throughout our distribution service area. On December 13, 2023, inspectors from the Department of Environmental Protection discovered that our chlorine residual was below the minimum required level, which resulted in a violation. The Florida Safe Drinking Water Act requires the minimum chlorine residual to ensure the safety of the public water supply.”
The letter ends with only contact information for concerned community members if they want to learn more. The lack of discipline or even a promise to fix issues concerned Kasten and his neighbors but infuriated them due to the lack of awareness and accountability.
“Parkland Utilities was cited for non-compliance, but that’s it. No fines, no stringent measures. It’s baffling,” he said, questioning the effectiveness of regulatory oversight.
Kasten says while local officials have provided an open ear to her concerns, the issue’s complexity has kept the matter from being addressed and solved.
“The city manager, attorney, and vice mayor are supportive, but their influence is limited. They’ve assured us they’ll do what they can, but ultimately, it’s in FDEP’s hands,” Kasten conveyed, illustrating the bureaucratic challenges.
Despite these hurdles, Kasten and his neighbors aren’t letting things go. He says they’ll continue monitoring the water until something is done or the quality rises to healthy, less concerning norms.
“We’ve decided on monthly testing and will keep the pressure on the FDEP. It’s about keeping our families safe,” Kasten said.
When asked about future steps, Kasten, while frustrated, assured all options are still on the table, but one thing is sure – the community isn’t letting the issue get swept under the rug.
“A lawsuit might not be our path, but we won’t back down. We’re fighting not just for us but for all the communities Parkland Utilities serves.”
Kaston also mentioned that he and his neighbors have invested in expensive whole-house filtration systems.
The City of Parkland spokesperson, Todd DeAngelis, told Parkland Talk that staff met with two residents of The Falls in December regarding this issue.
“The City subsequently reached out to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which later informed the City that Parkland Utilities is in compliance and operating as intended.”
DeAngelis also made sure to clear up any confusion as to the city’s involvement in providing the actual services to the community.
“As a point of clarification, Parkland Utilities is not an arm of, or affiliated with, the City of Parkland as the City does not operate any utilities.”
- Ryan Yousefi has lived in Coral Springs for over 30 years. He has worked as a writer for multiples outlets over the years, including the Miami New Times where he has covered sports and culture since 2013. He holds a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in Business Healthcare Management from Western Governors University.
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