Residents were able to turn on the taps after 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, and drink to their satisfaction as the the Cedar Key Water & Sewer District was given approval from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to allow human consumption of the District’s water supply.
According to the District's website the new reverse osmosis units are manually on-line and in the past week the final commissioning, training, testing and final adjusting of the equipment has been taking place.
While the water is safe to drink, the full impact of the new units will not be felt until the latter part of this week. By then, there should be a noticeable improvement in the quality of the water.
The District thanked everyone for their patience throughout this emergency. Since the water supply is now safe to drink, dispensing bottled water at the District Office will discontinue.
The District announced on June 18 that saltwater intrusion into the community's three water wells had rendered it unfit for human consumption by the island community's 800 residents.
There have been distributions of bottled water and several water buffaloes were placed around the town for residents to use in filling bottles.
The District staff first became aware of the problem on May 28 when it started getting irregular readings on the chloride levels in its water testing. The staff had the equipment re-calibrated and tests run before coming to the conclusion that the drought and dropping groundwater levels has allowed saltwater to seep into the water supply. The result was water that had three times the normal level of chlorides.
The District approved spending to purchase the two reverse osmosis units, an insulated trailer to house the units, and the equipment and chemicals to restore the water supply.