Over a day since JEA found E. coli in water well, residents say they haven’t received a water alert

·3 min read

More than 19,000 people on the southside are being told to boil their water after JEA says E. coli was found in a water sample.

Some customers say they heard about the notice from word-of-mouth, social media or local news stations like ours.

I visited the St. Johns Towns Center today, one of the large commercial areas most directly affected. I found customers and shoppers there asking why JEA didn’t do more to notify them.

Some customers don’t think JEA acted quickly enough and others say JEA hasn’t acted at all. I’m one of many customers affected who still hasn’t gotten a text, email or phone call about the boil water advisory.

More than 19,000 people are under the boil water advisory. Many of those customers say JEA never sent them a notification.

“The only reason I knew about that is that I have active friendships and family in the area,” says Garrett.

“Even after seeing it on our news station and hearing it from your mom have you or your mom specifically heard anything from JEA? No, not at all,” says Sanks.

“It’s really concerning to me that JEA is not telling more people about it,” says Garrett.

JEA customers in the Sandalwood, St. Johns Town Center and Tinseltown areas are being asked by JEA to bring water to a boiling point for one minute before using it. That’s for drinking, cooking, washing dishes or brushing your teeth.

I spoke with two UNF students, Kayla and Emily. They say they found out about the boil water advisory from the university and from watching Action News Jax.

“We got a safe Ospreys alert,” says Garrett.

“My friend’s mom actually told us right before UNF Safe Ospreys sent it to us and she saw it because her husband happened to be looking at the local news,” says Regalado.

JEA says it contacted customers by text and that it first discovered traces of E. coli yesterday morning. But this customer never got a text and worries about E. coli.

“You can get very sick from E. coli so having that notification go out to people whether via email or via text is very important because people have small children. I can only assume if you get sick and your kids get sick that’s going to be a world of trouble,” says Sanks.

The boil water advisory is taking a toll on local restaurants in the town center like Chick-fil-A and The Yard Milkshake Bar, which closed their doors during what could’ve been a busy weekend for business. Others like Tossgreen had signs letting customers know they’d be closing early.

Other restaurants say they’re taking every safety precaution necessary after getting a late notice or no notice at all from JEA. If you are in an impacted area, please stock up on bottled water. JEA says the boil water advisory should be lifted by Monday.

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