Orange County

Environmental official notifies Eatonville residents of water contamination issue

EATONVILLE, Fla. — Our 9 Investigates team dug into the concern with drinking water in central Florida.


Eatonville’s mayor has known since July that the water did not meet the state environmental code.

This week, 9 investigates uncovered documents that show this issue dates back to late 2019.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection warned Eatonville about failing to monitor its water for contamination.

Since then, the department has reached out to Eatonville several times, including about failing to notify the public and a lack of water testing.

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Channel 9′s Phylicia Ashley spoke with the mayor Friday, who said she drinks the water herself.

After biometrics shocked the town of Eatonville on Tuesday, Channel 9 contacted someone from the DEP, who had told the community the news.

A representative from the DEP said the water is safe to drink, and right now, it is up to federal drinking standards. But they also said the town’s main issue is reporting to the DEP promptly.

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Town council members said Tuesday was the first they had heard about potential problems with the town’s water.

Mayor Angie Gardner took office last March and said she learned about the issue after getting a letter from the DEP in July.

“When we got the letter, my understanding was we just needed to start fixing and bring those chemicals imbalance,” she said. “As mayor, I was not thinking about a formal notification that needed to be put out.”

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Records show the town received warnings starting in 2018, but Gardner said she could not speak for prior administrations.

Channel 9 also met with previous Mayor Eddie Cole and said the utilities’ responsibilities fall to the town’s public works director.

Channel 9 reached out to the Public Works Department but has yet to hear back.

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