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Belleair Millions Evaluating Water System.

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Last updated on August 18, 2023

Millions Spent Evaluating Belleair Water System.

In 08, Belleair won a best-tasting water contest. Now drinking water contaminants are above legal limits and health guidelines. In 2009, residents were notified, “Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard,” and it still does.

In 2011 Town Manager Maxwell said Belleair’s drinking water had been dropping. Maxwell told the Town Commission, “I would say we have no worries for the next five years and legally for the next ten years.” Maxwell said, “the solution to the problem included renovating the existing water treatment plant or buying water from outside sources, notably Clearwater or Pinellas County.”

In 2012 reported Belleair’s water had one contaminant above legal limits and two contaminants above health guidelines.

About the time Katica’s $500,000 roundabout was underway. Belleair faced a $300,000 deficit in operating its water system every year. So, in 2013 Murphy, then Belleair’s Finance Director, planned to stop the bleeding. How else, by increasing our water bills, Commissioners unanimously agreed to a new rate structure. They were making residents pay more for water in violation of drinking water standards.

Belleair Water Department

The fact in Jun 2016, Belleair Water Department, due to a water main break, issued a cautionary boil water notice for all Belleair customers. From 2016 to 2018, the sale of the Belleview Biltmore took center stage, putting Belleair water issues on the back burner.

In 2018 Murphy suggested creating a “Strategic Planning” survey suggesting hiring the Florida Institute of Government Belleair Commissioners agreed to pay 60K for a survey with a 5% response rate costing taxpayers $350 per response. A 5% response rate would make any survey invalid, and if the FIOG survey were, the baseline for Belleair’s strategic plan would make it unsound at best.

Belleair received the 5-page “guide to help move forward” from FIOG for Belleair’s strategic plan. Their report had five or six topics of concern. Already acknowledged for years by anguished residents. One topic of concern was Belleair’s water plant.

Like his predecessor Maxwell, Murphy and all commissioners knew solutions included renovating the existing water treatment plant or hooking into a water source from external supplies, like Pinellas County. However, Murphy suggested Belleair officials hire McKim & Creed to study and report on Belleair’s water system costing $324,223. They also paid McKim & Creed $63,554 for hydraulic modeling to better evaluate the existing water distribution.

In the same year, Belleair Commissioners recommended creating a Belleair Historic Survey report, and Commissioner Shelly motioned to award the contract to JMT. Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson is a national company that provides bridge inspections, water & wastewater treatment projects, and water distribution.



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