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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

At $30 million Pinellas building? Don't drink the water



The year-old, $30-million Emergency Response Building for Pinellas County has developed a glitch: the drinking water stinks.

The 125 county employees have been warned to avoid drinking the water, according to a terse memo to workers.

Pete Yauch, director of transportation and stormwater, said the city of Clearwater is testing the water for bacteria after complaints about brownish water. As of Thursday, it's uncertain if the problem is with the building or the water supplied by the city.

"While we are waiting on the results of the test we are asking all staff to refrain from drinking tap water. This restriction includes the water fountains, coffee makers, ice makers, kitchen sinks, rest rooms, and shower areas," according to an email among top officials about the 80,000-square foot building.

The building has water storage tanks in case of emergencies -- it's calling card is a place to run operations during a hurricane -- but those tanks aren't filled for normal, daily use, Yauch said. The building is under warranty from the contractor.

[Last modified: Thursday, August 18, 2011 4:26pm]


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