On Nov. 9, the Delray Beach City Commission voted unanimously to approve a consent order with the Florida Department of Health Palm Beach County. Over the past 20 months, a lot has been accomplished to bring the city’s reclaimed water cross-connection control program into compliance.
Ultimately, we arrived at an $800,000 reduced remittance from what was originally proposed by the Department of Health.
Supporting our legal team and Utilities Department staff throughout the negotiations to arrive at a final consent order with the Department of Health has been one of my top priorities since I began working for the city just a few months ago. Likewise, the team’s diligent work over the past several months has given the city closure on this very important matter and I sincerely thank them for their efforts.
I realize that our current team here can’t change the past, and the work they have done over the past 20 months to bring our reclaimed water program into compliance is not a function of placing blame on a single individual. It’s about ensuring the service we provide is meeting the necessary standards and serving our residents, business owners and stakeholders as it should. That is true accountability.
Despite my short tenure with the city, I want to offer a heartfelt apology to our residents, business owners and stakeholders. Without question, you deserve a utilities system that meets compliance standards as well as the needs of our community. This is something I am deeply committed to, as is the city’s current Director of Utilities Hassan Hadjimiry, who was hired in June of 2020. Our shared vision centers on the core belief that sound infrastructure is the foundation upon which strong cities are built.
The city’s reclaimed water system is an integral part of our utilities infrastructure. It plays an important role in water resource, wastewater and ecosystem management. Reclaimed water is highly treated wastewater that can be used for irrigation to recharge the groundwater supply and ease the demand on our drinking water sources. Our property owners who have access to and use reclaimed water for irrigation purposes are doing their part to conserve our most precious resource — and for that I am extremely grateful.
Continuing to strengthen our infrastructure is imperative to ensuring Delray Beach’s future is a sustainable one. Moving forward, the implementation of several sustainable capital improvement programs, including a new water treatment plant, will help ensure the city’s infrastructure will meet and exceed our community’s future needs. I am confident that our future will be brighter — with dependable infrastructure and utilities services that all can rely on.
Terrence R. Moore, ICMA-CM,
Delray Beach city manager