Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Port Richey leaders feud over water quality

PORT RICHEY — When city council member Terry Rowe looked at the water in his toilet tank last month he was thoroughly disgusted.

It looked like coffee, he would later tell his colleagues on the board as he presented a picture of his toilet during a Feb. 25 council meeting. Rowe told the Times he displayed the picture out of frustration over the council's lack of action in dealing with water complaints.

His methods, however, did not sit well City Manager Tom O'Neill and Mayor Eloise Taylor, who made an extensive presentation during a meeting Tuesday, saying the city's water quality has been thoroughly tested and greatly improved in the past year. And testing of water in Rowe's home showed his water quality to be "acceptable," Taylor said.

"The claims by Mr. Rowe simply do not stand up to scrutiny and they do not stand up to the facts," she said.

Rowe took offense, saying the water quality has not been fixed and is an "embarrassment" to the city.

"What's not acceptable is one of my colleagues insinuating that I'm lying about my water. I brought a picture because of something I found intolerable," Rowe said. "I assure you, Mayor, I did not take a coffee pot and pour coffee down my toilet just for kicks."

All this comes a year after Port Richey had a brown water outbreak that forced the city to scale back its production due to salt water intrusion in its wells. As a remedy, Port Richey increased the amount of water it buys from New Port Richey to ease pressure on the wells and meet the daily demand of between 800,000 and 900,000-gallons. Currently, the city is supplying 500,000 gallons a day and buying the rest from New Port Richey, O'Neill said Friday.

O'Neill said the measures have dramatically increased the city's water quality and the only complaints he has received this year have been two from Rowe. He responded with testing of water in Rowe's home that showed quality to be fine.

"We've worked very hard and I think the city's water quality is on par with any water system in the area," O'Neill said.

Rowe and O'Neill had a tense email exchange following the meeting.

"I take issue with your comments and photographic display regarding City water quality at the City Council meeting last night. Your continued comments and actions, without any prior discussion with the city professional utility operations staff, are in my opinion less than factual and less than acceptable conduct for a responsible elected official," O'Neill wrote in a Feb. 26 email to Rowe.

Rowe responded: "I couldn't care less what you take issue with."

Port Richey leaders feud over water quality 03/14/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 14, 2014 2:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Hernando County Sheriff's Office: Deputies shoot suicidal woman who brandished shotgun


    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Sheriff's deputies shot a woman they believed to be suicidal after she pointed a shotgun at them Sunday, according to a police report.

  2. Trump administration disbands federal advisory committee on climate change


    WASHINGTON - The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government's climate analysis into long-term planning.

    President Donald Trump. [Associated Press]
  3. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) with starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after the top of the seventh inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  4. No touchdown, but fun lesson for Bucs' Adam Humphries


    It didn't end up being a touchdown, but one of the Bucs' biggest hustle plays in Thursday's win over Jacksonville saw receiver Adam Humphries scoop up a loose ball just before halftime, after what looked like an incompletion but was correctly ruled a Jameis Winston fumble.

    Bucs WR Adam Humphries runs to the end zone with QB Jameis Winston trailing -- his alert play wasn't a touchdown because teammates cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a half.
  5. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week


    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]