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Water operators will face charges

State prosecutors announced Monday that they are preparing to charge the owner and operator of a private water system that has been cited for numerous violations of the county's water system ordinance.

The owner and operator of the Cedar Lakes subdivision in Crystal River will face criminal charges because of their refusal to correct gross violations of the county's ordinance dealing with community water systems, said Assistant State Attorney Mark Simpson.

Prosecutors were preparing to issue the charges late Monday; however, the names of the people involved will not be released until after the charges are officially filed, Simpson said.

Simpson said the state will file one charge against the owner and five against the operator for failure to maintain a proper water system and failure to maintain a water treatment plant.

The owner of the community water system previously was identified as Frank Russ Colo, a 76-year-old builder who had been cited for 13 violations of the ordinance.

Since Sept. 16, 1992, the county's Code Enforcement Board has fined Colo $250 a day pending improvements. Before he moved to Citrus County, Colo abandoned a private sewer system at Viva Villas subdivision in Pasco County.

For six years, members of the Cedar Lakes Homeowners Association have complained about broken water pipes, low water pressure and other problems that have caused the water to be unfit to drink at times because of high bacteria levels.

In 1990, residents of Cedar Lakes were under a mandate to use bottled water only for a four-week stretch because of the unsanitary condition of the subdivision's water system.