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Is The Water Safe To Drink?
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
City officials say there's no cause for alarm and that the mailer is blowing things out of proportion. City Manager Mike Cassidy says there hasn't been a boil water or other serious contamination notice in more than a year.
But their water has become an issue in the special election to fill the Senate District Three seat. Republican Charlie Dean is running against Democrat Suzan Franks.
Cross City resident Rachel Lopez didn't get the flier herself. But she's bothered by the words. She says it's way over the top.
"We're not forced to buy bottled water," says Lopez. "That's totally not correct like it say on that little flier. We're not forced to buy it, it's a choice."
A choice she makes mostly because of the taste, not because the city water is unsafe to drink.
City Manager Mike Cassidy says the mailer gives citizens the wrong idea. Despite what the flier states, he says the water is fit to drink and has never been deemed contaminated and undrinkable.
However, because of stricter state guidelines enacted 18 months ago, the city's water has violated drinking standards. A byproduct from the chlorine used to purify the water over many years has been shown to increase the risk for cancer.
"It can send out an unwarranted alarm to the citizens and they naturally will believe what they read," says Cassidy. "We just want them to be cautious and let our citizens know that our water is safe."
Despite Charlie Dean's face and name on the mailer, it was distributed without his knowledge. The Republican Party of Florida refused to answer our questions on an on-camera interview, but spokeswoman Erin VanSickle made this statement:
"Political campaigns are about issues," says VanSickle. "An issue of water quality is clearly important to to voters of Cross City and Senate District Three. It is our job here at the Republican Party of Florida not only to inform voters of issues like this but also to work toward common sense solutions for our taxpayers."
Lopez questions the tactics and doesn't think it will affect her in the voting booth.
Cassidy says it's taken longer than expected to find the best solution. But he hopes to have it all fixed by October of this year.
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