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Neighbors raise concerns over water testing flyers

Posted at 11:13 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 23:13:56-04

MATLACHA ISLE, Fla. — A company called South Florida Water Services Incorporated mailed a card to people living in Matlacha Isle offering to test their drinking water for free. The name sounds like South Florida Water Management District, but the company has no affiliation with SFWMD and wants to sell clean drinking water.

Cheryl Lamm said she gets flyers like this a few times a year. She said she almost fell for it a few months ago.

“There was a break in the water line. And you know, we really believed it when we got those flyers,” she said. “We believed we had bad water.”

She had doubts when she saw red tide on the flyer since the water in Matlacha Isle gets filtered by the Pine Island Water Association.

“We don’t get our water from canals. Ours is all filtered,” she said.

But, she said the name South Florida Water Services made her think she needed to act quickly.

“It sounds like it comes from our water management district,” she said.

Phil Flood with SFWMD said there’s no connection.

“They have a name that’s sort of similar to the South Florida Water Management District, but they are no way affiliated whatsoever with the South Florida Water Management District,” said Flood.

Flood added SFWMD doesn't testing drinking water. He said that's regulated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

South Florida Water Services declined an on-camera interview with Fox 4. But a contractor confirmed after the free testing they offer a filtering service. He also pointed out the fine print at the bottom of the flyer that said “South Florida Water Services is independent from your local water utility.”