PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — All residents east of Richard Jackson Boulevard in Panama City Beach were under a boil water notice this weekend.
A computer hardware malfunction caused a pump station to lose pressure for nearly an hour Friday morning.
“At about 12:35 in the morning on this past Friday the controller that controls one of our high service pump stations on the east end of our system, the comptroller went flat,” Panama City Beach Director of Utilities Mark Shaeffer said.
Utility workers restored water pressure within an hour.
But Florida’s Department of Health requires a boil water notice to be issued.
“In the state of Florida, the Department of Health has criteria for all water systems that if your water system pressure drops below 20 PSI, you have to institute what’s called a precautionary boil water protocol,” Shaeffer said.
Shaeffer said the state does this to protect vulnerable members of society.
“People that are on dialysis, organ transplant people, people with compromised immune systems, health care facilities, anybody that can that really would be problematic if they had, you know, unsatisfactory water quality,” Shaeffer said.
The city can’t lift the boil water advisory until they run several acceptable bacteria tests.
“You have to take bacterial samples You have to take two,” Shaeffer said. “They have to be on successive days and they can’t be less than 6 hours apart.”
Then there’s a 24-hour incubation period between the time the samples are taken and the tests.
“You now have a 30-hour lag between when the event occurs when you sample,” Shaeffer said. “And when you can actually begin to see if you can lift the precautionary boil water notice.”
While the city’s current water system is up to standards, Shaeffer said they are currently looking into getting a more modern system that is equipped with a backup chip that would prevent the same type of failure in the future.