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Sanford mayor: We remain diligent on water quality

Art Woodruff serves as the mayor of the city of Sanford and is a lifelong resident of Sanford. You can find more information and answers to important questions on the City’s website,

While the Sentinel’s spotlight on water contamination in Central Florida, especially through last year’s “Toxic Secret” series, has faded in recent months, the issue remains no less important and efforts by the City of Sanford to address drinking water quality are no less diligent. Sanford constantly works to safeguard its drinking water for the public, but there are limits to what one city can achieve by itself.

I was encouraged when Sens. Jason Brodeur and Linda Stewart along with Rep. Rebecca Plakon took up the issue with bills in this legislative session. Brodeur’s bill would have required identification of sources, helping prevent further contamination throughout the state. Stewart’s and Plakon’s legislation would have required the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to set a legal limit for 1,4-dioxane and set in motion funding to help utilities deal with the contamination. Unfortunately, the Legislature as a whole failed to recognize the importance and the bills died. The City of Sanford will work with our legislative delegation to reintroduce and adopt these bills next year because state action is needed.

Only state and federal agencies — the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Health — have the legal authority, background, and expertise to study and regulate acceptable levels of chemicals in public drinking water. Sanford, like all local governments, relies on these agencies to set appropriate standards and Sanford consistently meets or exceeds these standards for monitoring and water quality. Although there is a health advisory level, the state’s residents would best be served by a regulatory limit.