In response to concerns about Fort Lauderdale’s drinking water and sewage pipe infrastructure, Wilton Manors officials said they would address them with Fort Lauderdale officials.

At the May 23 commission meeting, Sal Torre, president of the Westside Association of Wilton Manors, said he was concerned about a May 14 Sun Sentinel article which stated that “The city’s system to deliver drinking water from the tap, and to carry away what’s flushed, has aging parts that could fail at any time, an independent study of the water and sewer system found.”

The system serves hundreds of thousands of residents, including people who live in Wilton Manors and Oakland Park. Detailed in the article were incidents of burst water mains and pools of raw sewage flooding various neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale. According to the report, $1.4 billion is needed over 20 years to fully address the problem. 

“I think in the long run we’ll probably end up with a fairly large bond issue,” said Fort Lauderdale Public Works Director Paul Berg in the article. “Berg said the city has been waiting for the report in order to prioritize repairs and come up with a plan. He said he’ll work with a new city infrastructure board, then recommend a way forward. City commissioners will decide how quickly, and at what cost, the improvements will be made.”

“The city’s water and sewer customers have seen their bills rise each year. But money that could have been spent of repairs has been removed from the system and spent on other things like parks, public safety and other general expenses. The city is redirecting approximately $20 million a year collected from . . . water and sewer bills to cover other city expenses,” reads the Sun Sentinel article.

“This should be frightening to everyone,” Torre said.

Mayor Gary Resnick said Wilton Manors officials are aware of the problem and that they’ve already met with officials from other cities which get their water from Fort Lauderdale. Their concerns, he said, would be addressed to Fort Lauderdale.

“There’s got to be a plan,” said Resnick.