State Inspection Of Century Water System Finds 35 Possible Violations, Including Low Chlorine And Falsification Of Records

February 4, 2024

The Town of Century has responded to a Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) warning letter that identified dozens of potential violations of Florida statutes and codes.

The letter was  sent to Mayor Luis Gomez, Jr. on January 30, following a January 11 sanitary survey inspection.

Findings included improper safety equipment and insufficient chlorine in the water, an emergency plan dated 2012, and  55-gallon drums stored in one well with an unknown substance for at least four years. FDEP also found that sampling, laboratory and other data was being falsified. A daily log sheet was pre-filled by the town’s operator with sampling results before the sampling analysis was conducted, FDEP said. A few of the items have been corrected, according to FDEP. The 55-gallon drums, for instance, contained food-grade oil that was previously used for well lubrication.

“Violations of Florida Statutes or administrative rules may result in liability for damages and restoration, and the judicial imposition of civil penalties,” the letter states. “Please be advised that this Warning Letter is part of an agency investigation, preliminary to agency action in accordance with (Florida Statutes).”

For a photo gallery of many of the violations from FDEP, click or tap here.

The Town of Century water system has  893 connections, most in or near the town limits.


42 Responses to “State Inspection Of Century Water System Finds 35 Possible Violations, Including Low Chlorine And Falsification Of Records”

  1. jb on February 7th, 2024 1:57 pm

    CENTURY COUNTRY GIRL Where did you get that info? Escambia County is #37 and Santa Rosa County is #45 in the survey that I checked. Might want to look up facts before you post stupid stuff.

  2. Steve on February 7th, 2024 7:50 am

    Lawyer up !

  3. Rodney Burkett on February 6th, 2024 8:40 pm

    So Trust me thinks that title equals trust. Designing something is a far cry from it working, and certainly doesn’t mean you can run it. Would love to have a dollar for every time operators have had to redesign or reengineer an item just to make it work the way it should. Some designers/ engineers actually listen and try to learn a system before shoving a design a computer said would work. But unfortunately many assume they’re degree makes them right and infallible, as did this inspector.
    I also realize that most people who post here as you are don’t know what you think you know. It is easy to rush to judgement, especially when it is not your own situation being judged. There are many more factors at play here, and anyone in this situation would like to have the benefit of the doubt, you know what our legal system is based on.

  4. Rodney Burkett on February 6th, 2024 6:33 pm

    Mr. Jernigan, I realize that you are not aware of all the information pertaining to this situation, so I’m going look past your attempts to slander me. It is unfortunate though that without the facts your assuming that the report is all on the level. But any operator with enough experience and know how would have the ability to know that all these things do not make a systems water quality. Now these items do make things look better if all can be reasonably done by a staff of multiple operators and other support personnel. Yes it takes more than one person to do more than the bare bones minimum and continuously put out one fire after another. Operating just a water system with one is tough enough, but try operating a full water system and wastewater system by yourself, and that includes doing almost all the distribution system repairs and service installations. What is more concerning is the inspector was well aware of the fact that the operator was operating two systems by himself and chose to not only look for every petty issue he could, he also decided to make it personal. Not only is that unprofessional,it’s outside the policies of DEP, and puts DEP in a bad position. There is nothing wrong with listing items as all inspectors do. But to make personal attacks and call up the operator afterwards and make personal threats, that is way over the top and not necessary. The inspectors personal feelings should never be inserted in the report nor any other place or time.
    To address your comment concerning no system having these issues. You are completely wrong, these are common items, I’ve personally worked for systems that have had worse conditions and worse log books. Of course every system can be improved, some more than others. Can Century improve these things, certainly, but without the proper funding and proper staffing any operator has to do what they are able to do with what they have.

  5. Trust me, I know on February 5th, 2024 11:00 pm

    This “is” a big deal, I have designed and installed monitored deep well systems, sewage treatment plants, lift stations, chlorination and de-chlorination systems for SCADA reporting to State and Federal entities.
    If water is being used for “Potable” purposes it must be sampled, treated and monitored at all times.
    Deep well flow meters must be re-certified every year and inoperable units replaced immediately, the SCADA system will alarm immediately when it goes down, this is not rocket science, a good mechanic with hand tools can change out an entire flow meter in 4 hours.
    Unlabeled primary and secondary containers are not acceptable.
    No, I don’t believe other major water treatment entities are in this shape.

  6. Century Country Girl on February 5th, 2024 9:45 pm

    Did you know that Escambia county & Santa Rosa County, Fl ha ve the most cases of cancer in the Whole State of Florida? We pay for it in our Insurance premiums too!

  7. Randy Jernigan on February 5th, 2024 4:39 pm

    Falsifying records is not an insignificant issue. They will take your license and put you in jail. Having no chlorine in the system is a significant threat to public health. The fact the these indefensible issues are being defended makes me question that operators ability and integrity. ( Even if it is his father). My name is included.

  8. Connie Brookhart on February 5th, 2024 2:42 pm

    I am completely dumbfounded that this many violations have been found and yet nothing is really being done to change the issue. I work for a water utility, and I can tell you that there would be people fired for such issues. I know that someone other than the operator should have known this, is there no management or supervision? Just looking at the pictures you can clearly see very little Maintenace has been done for upkeep. I know firsthand that the water leak crossing the road on Hecker was a mess, dirt continually washing away to create a hole, now it has the largest speed bump over it. Really is this how you fix the leak and pavement? I am so stressed just to know that the people in charge in Century are the ones that make decisions regarding the grant monies given to the town, who knows where that will go. I am just glad that I do not rely on Century’s water to drink, I either use bottled water or carry water from my work. To me these are large deficiencies as we all pay the price monthly to have safe and reliable drinking water.

  9. Rodney Burkett on February 5th, 2024 12:44 pm

    IMHO, hiding behind an acronym , interesting. Yes fear mongering, all these issues are very common and very slight, and have no significant effect on water quality. You are correct, I do know. I know the difference between between what is detrimental and insignificant. What the most concerning is the person inspecting doesn’t know the difference, and lacks the experience and know how to differentiate between the two. I understand that individuals who lack experience with water treatment facilities don’t understand why corrosion happens in water and waste water facilities, but a person doing an inspection should know, but it is obvious they do not, nor the person pushing this agenda.
    Any system in this country could be written up for these items, but most are not, because they are not significant. Can these items be improved? Certainly! With the proper staffing and plenty of money, these mostly aesthetic issues can be addressed and maintained better. Again these things occur because of conditions mostly, not lack of want to or ability.
    As an example, say someone hires you to restore a car, you know how and you want to restore it correctly, not leaving nothing untouched, but the person who hired you says, I wanted it restored with $100, well you know full well it cannot be done properly for that, and you advise the owner of that, but they fail to secure the money do it. So you have 2 choices, you need the job, you either do what you can with the $100, or you quit and be without a job.
    There is plenty of blame to go around, and that is the easy part. But in the end blame doesn’t solve anything. I know from experience what it is like to be in this position, and I know from experience what needs to be done, and it ain’t firing the operator. What needs to be done is give the operator everything they need, don’t hesitate to give them authority to handle all parts of the job, not just the part you want to blame them for. The fact that this system is running as good as it is, in the conditions that have been put upon the employees, is no small task. Administration has to find the way to properly fund necessary services, period. People in this forum, ask yourself. How much is my services worth to me? How much am I willing to pay for shining well houses and 100 percent no corrosion in the building? Because these items are extremely expensive. It just like example of the car. If you want it done perfectly, then you have to come off the money. Get the funding right, get the staffing to proper levels, take away the political road blocks and individuals trying to sabotage the town for profit, and you will see these issues go away.

  10. I Don't Know is on third (ugh!) on February 5th, 2024 11:23 am

    Hmmm…sooo…… “Findings included improper safety equipment and insufficient chlorine in the water, an emergency plan dated 2012, and 55-gallon drums stored in one well with an unknown substance for at least four years.” … meaning the current mayor and council inherited the problems. Seems the previous council and mayor which included Boutwell, Gomez, Lewis and Jackson, were not equipped to handle these issues or they took time to hide, bury or overlook them. While I agree that Mayor Gomez is COMPLETELY clueless and he is completely unequipped to right the ship, stop the carnage or read a report with ANY comprehension…to blame the current council for an obvious mistake by the previous council is insane…especially when complaining and sitting on your hands does not fix a thing. This falls squarely on the shoulders of the Mayor, who by the charter is the CEO of the Town and must be aware of the issues and the Mayor is responsible to report findings to the council to take action. CLEARLY…several Mayors and Councilmembers have dropped this ball years ago…and the easiest thing to do blame whomever is sitting there now.

    I wholeheartedly agree with James Smith …”Idiots in charge of Century, how can the citizens not stand up for themselves.”

  11. Steve on February 5th, 2024 8:15 am

    One of the prisoners might have a complaint but the Century citizens , they are just ordinary U S citizens , who cares ?

  12. IMHO on February 5th, 2024 2:31 am

    @Rodney Seriously? Fear Mongering? Minor Violations? None have put your water in jeopardy? Falsified records, no testing and under chlorination? It’s obvious the persons responsible “don’t have the towns best interest at heart” or they would have done their job. You of all people should know better!!

  13. Mitchell Potter on February 5th, 2024 12:52 am

    It seems like the bad news keeps coming for the residents of Century. The totality of problems that has plagued the community’s government are systemic and costly in dollars and health.

  14. Clean Water on February 4th, 2024 11:35 pm

    Advice for the inhabitants of Century:
    Get a class action lawsuit filed on the Century township (listing the officials currently in office) to be held responsible for future health issues of the citizens (including children)
    as a safeguard for their future health issues associated with contaminated water.

  15. Rodney Burkett on February 4th, 2024 8:30 pm

    Unlike most people with their opinions, I don’t mind putting my real name on here. No doubt the list appears daunting, and that is the purpose of this list, fear mongering. It is disgusting that the author of this list of possible violations works for the state, it is also a sad testament to the fact of poor knowledge by the author. All the items in this list are not major issues. I know it seems dire to the generally untrained eye, and even to some so called trained eyes. This report was purposely exaggerated for the purpose of causing just what has done. These minor violations exist in more than 50 percent of the operating water systems in this state and surrounding states, and throughout this country. Even with that I am certain there are many systems with major/severe violations operating right now, which would make this list seem petty. This list is petty, and the water system is safe, and the author of this list is very aware of that, but fails to mention that. What the public don’t know is the internal things going on with individuals who have an agenda of propaganda to try to cause harm to the mayor, the town, and select employees so they can profit from the harm, and unfortunately the state allowed themselves to become pawns in the agenda, but possibly not unwittingly. It would behoove North Escambia to investigate these issues as well, not just report what someone has guided them to do, becoming part of the agenda. No doubt Century has some admistration issues, but nothing that cannot be overcome and corrected with the proper guidance. I truly believe this mayor is trying to get years of administrative cans being kicked down the road, headed in the right direction, but not everyone is pulling in the same direction. Matter of fact providing misdirection, some due to ignorance and some due to wanting to profit off the failure of the town. This town can be viable, and should be. The town needs a manager that knows this area and knows the needs of this town, and a contractor cannot provide that, nor have the towns best interest at heart, especially when they didn’t even know this town existed until they were contacted to be contracted to “manage the town” remotely. So don’t worry about your water, all those items can be and will be addressed, none have put your water in jeopardy.

  16. Carolyn Bramblett on February 4th, 2024 4:45 pm

    The State needs to take over running Century. You cannot trust that place to anyone locally it seems. Are we going to allow the poisoning of the people like they do in Michigan? Flint, right?

  17. James Smith on February 4th, 2024 4:25 pm

    Idiots in charge of Century, how can the citizens not stand up for themselves.

  18. D. Flowers on February 4th, 2024 4:17 pm

    Maybe a good first step might be to post a picture of every employee of the Century Water System and the entire chain of command above them so that the good citizens of Century could meet and greet them in public in order to give constructive, friendly feedback about the kind of tap water their families might be drinking. Connecting names and faces to a problem might motivate better performance. Geez…find one citizen of Century who is a retired Marine Gunny Sergeant and put him or her in charge. You could relax and know the problem would be fixed “Right Now”.

  19. Bill on February 4th, 2024 4:12 pm

    Don’t dissolve Century. They’ve got what they voted for. Don’t shift the cost of fixing their stupidity to the rest of Escambia.

  20. dave lamb on February 4th, 2024 3:34 pm

    Fire the whole crew Hire a contractor to clean up discrepancies or hire good, certified people. There is no reason for these failures. there are no reason for falsifying documents.

  21. Debbie on February 4th, 2024 1:34 pm

    @Honest John I’ve always wondered if anyone is overseeing that money and where it’s going. Does anyone answer as to what it’s being spent on ? Does anyone even ask ? It seems like they are getting large sums of money for one thing or another but then you never see where it actually went. I’m not saying it doesn’t go where it’s supposed to I’m just asking does anyone answer for all this money and does anyone check what they say for the truth . This article alone seems to say there are no checks and balances. Century residents you all need to wake up and do something. Nobody is coming on a white horse to save you . Remember the town in the Erin Brockovich movie , true story , where so many people got cancer from their water. Not saying that’s the case here but is anyone watching ? So many things ain’t right up there and not just the water situation

  22. Kane on February 4th, 2024 1:29 pm

    Well, well well what a terrible situation but really at this point nothing Century does/doesn’t do will not surprise me. Least now we know how they were able to afford giving out free natural gas for years and years by avoiding all those costs to get their water actually tested and treated.

  23. IMHO on February 4th, 2024 1:25 pm

    If this information is correct he needs to be fired and the State should revoke his certification. Criminal charges should also be brought

  24. KC on February 4th, 2024 12:43 pm

    The Town infrastructure needs a major overhaul Hold the people responsible for the water problems accountable for their actions and have them arrested

  25. Anne on February 4th, 2024 11:56 am

    Corrosion and Corruption continue to go hand-in-hand dancing merrily down the streets of Century and nothing ever comes of inspections, audits, violations of law.
    Putting the health of persons at risk is no small thing.
    This is beyond horrible yet my bet is nobody will ever be held accountable and the hands of the City Council will be filled with OUR TAX Money.
    Yes, OUR TAX Money, yours and mine no matter where we live all pay into the funds to constantly encourage mismanagement.

  26. sam on February 4th, 2024 11:39 am

    looks to me like not much if anything is done right in the way our water is being treated. I buy bottled water to drink. now I wonder about bathing and washing clothes in that mess.

  27. TB on February 4th, 2024 11:33 am

    The hits just keep on coming..
    I think we’re at a point now where some people need their offices moved over to the Century prison..
    This is now Criminal behavior, jeopardizing people’s health and safety.

  28. Concerned Citizen on February 4th, 2024 11:24 am

    Century was once a very nice and proud town. It hasn’t been worth living in since Mayor Benny Barnes was no longer Mayor. The Charter needs to be revoked and the State needs to step in, the Town is now run by incompetence.

  29. tg on February 4th, 2024 11:20 am

    Now you know why Gomez has to hire someone to run the city for him.

  30. tax payer on February 4th, 2024 11:12 am

    Well at least you have NEW christmas lights. I think that was 40,000 dollars

    Ned to fire town’s operator and possible put in jail. Need to fine the mayor also since he is ultimately in charge of everything

  31. Revoke that Charter on February 4th, 2024 10:53 am

    @Honest John – Same thought went through my head. Millions are being spent with what seems like little to show for it which makes one wonder, how much of that money makes it to the project it was granted for.
    The Century Town charter has needed revoking for decades. It is hard to imagine why the State has not thoroughly investigated and done so instead of sending more grant money.

  32. M in Bratt on February 4th, 2024 10:53 am

    It just seems like safe water and sewer would have a higher priority than building a few more community centers. When is the legislature going to wake up and revoke this town’s charter before they actually do harm to any citizens?

  33. Niknak50 on February 4th, 2024 10:47 am

    AND TO THINK…….We used to say don’t drink the water in Mexico!!

  34. Century resident on February 4th, 2024 10:19 am

    At which point does all of this become criminal? What’s my other choice for competent water services? Is my health worth yet another misappropriated cash injection? Dissolve the town and run out the people doing this nonsense

  35. SW on February 4th, 2024 9:34 am

    Just another in a long line of fails by this inept town government.

  36. Honest John on February 4th, 2024 9:21 am

    Oops, here comes some more grant money!

  37. A.W.Thompson on February 4th, 2024 8:56 am

    This would be funny if it wasn’t so harming and dangerous to all of us hooked up to this.Its no wonder we see the sights walking up and down the roads.I have been attributing all of it to meth,crack and fentynol.Maybe that’s why I started walking backwards a few years back.Stay tuned to As the Century world turns.

  38. chris on February 4th, 2024 8:20 am

    Falsifying records. Sounds like criminal negligence, and yet Century still exists as a town.

  39. Flacowboy on February 4th, 2024 7:24 am

    Maybe Century needs to sale the water system to ECUA. Problem solved

  40. Bigblock345 on February 4th, 2024 5:44 am

    And the wheels on the bus go round and round.

  41. Revoke the Charter on February 4th, 2024 5:42 am

    This is yet another example of why the State needs to revoke this town charter. The insanity has to stop!

  42. Resident on February 4th, 2024 3:18 am

    Dear Lord, how long can this continue? There are many things on this that endanger the public. What about our babies, what about our children? Some of these things could also kill town employees! Has the person falsifying state forms been fired?

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