Florida Rural Water Assists Community to Increase Safety and Improve Water Quality

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. – The City of Riviera Beach, Fla. needed training and assistance to improve their safety and water quality. The Florida Rural Water Association provided repeated assistance to help the utility to make those improvements.

“They had hired a consultant to inspect the system and compile a list of needs for the system,” explained Chris Bailey, a Training Specialist with FRWA. “They had a lot of problems.”

Riviera Beach has an older system, and had experienced problems with low chlorine levels and sewage overflows. Inspections revealed several water quality issues, including holes in the well casings, algae, out-of-date calibrations and grass growing in the basins.  There were also numerous safety hazards, including improper safety equipment for chlorine and ammonia, no eye wash stations and broken chlorine piping.  The consultant contacted Florida Rural Water to help provide the training and technical assistance needed to get the utility operating appropriately.

Bailey and Moises Villalpando, a State Circuit Rider with FRWA, met Riviera Beach Interim Director Troy Perry to discuss the results of the inspection and previous sanitary surveys. They also met with the all the System Operations Specialists to ensure that everyone was trained correctly and that all staff were pursuing the same goals.

“We stressed that the water Riviera Beach was putting into the system was not completely healthy for its customers,” Bailey said.

Bailey and Villalpando first began with safety training the system employees on the safe storage and handling of the chlorine gas the system used for disinfection.

“We wanted to make sure they were safe changing chlorine cylinders or working with leaks,” Bailey said.

They also provided instruction and hands-on training in disinfection.

Bailey and Villalpando returned a second day and performed a walk-through inspection with the staff.

“We pointed out items from the inspections and ways to correct them,” Bailey explained.

After the training, Bailey and Villalpando again went with Perry to discuss a plan of action and to prioritize the various needs of the system. Villalpando agreed to visit the system regularly to provide assistance until the system was operating efficiently.

“Now that we’ve brought these things to their attention, the system can start making the improvements necessary,” Bailey said.