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Cape Coral officials address city's response to water advisory notifications

Boil water advisory lifted
Posted at 5:58 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 04:47:30-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla.  — People living in the City of Cape Coral likely heard about Monday's boil water notice in a variety of ways. One could've been through Lee County's emergency alert system called Alert Lee. A City spokesperson says out of the 200,000 residents around 83,000 got a notification using the system.

The boil water notice was lifted in about 18 hours, but it was issued out an abundance of caution.

"What we really wanted to do is really just get the message out to everyone and to let them know they can boil their water for one minute," said Melissa Mickey, the City of Cape Coral spokesperson.

To get the word out, they used different social media platforms, their website and Alert Lee.

"That’s where a lot of messaging went out through phones if you signed up for that you get a text message or a phone call through the Lee alert system," Mickey said.

With such a big gap in who was notified through the system, we asked Mickey what the City of Cape Coral plans to do for future alerts. She said they're going to remind people about it and encourage them to sign up.

Signing up is the only way to get the alert, which can be done online or by downloading the app.

It did take some time for the City to get the notice out. Mickey said the positive results came back around 3:00 p.m. Monday and the City did not let the public know until around 6 p.m.

Mickey said the delay came down to discussions between city officials and the Florida Department of Health.

"City officials did have discussions with the state department of health before putting out this advisory, expressing our concerns that we feel that it was isolated — that it might be an issue with the testing site," Mickey said.

Despite the concerns, the DOH told them to issue the citywide boil water advisory. The City also did not put out any signs on main roads to let people know. We asked Mickey why not.

"So for an isolated break it does make sense for it to have that street signage, but for something that’s citywide I don’t really know how you would determine what signs you would put where so it’s not just something that’s used most of the time," she explained.

Mickey said it would've taken thousands of signs and a lot of manpower to get them out.

"Everything that we really did yesterday run through this morning was out of an abundance of caution," she said.

Alert Lee is one of the best ways to get emergency notifications, which you can sign up for here.