Customers claim they weren't notified about water alert

Some relied on word-of-mouth to find out tap water could be contaminated

CLERMONT, Fla. – Some water utility customers said they're upset they weren't notified about a precautionary boil alert issued on Wednesday.

Southlake Utility Company, which provides water to a small section of Lake County, issued the alert on Wednesday after it lost pressure at its water treatment facility.

The company told News 6 it sent email alerts to all of its customers who are enrolled in their web portal, in addition to sending alerts to apartment buildings and the media.

Many web portal customers told News 6 they did not receive the notice and heard about the alert through word-of-mouth.

"What's in the line? Is it bacteria? Who knows? We were left in the dark on this one," said Peter Pepas, a Southlake customer.

Pepas said his family uses Southlake's online portal to pay their bill, and they did not receive an alert.

"Once my daughter found out, she went next door to the neighbor's house and asked if they knew about it. They knew nothing," he said. "Nobody in the cul-de-sac that rents here -- they knew nothing. They were just drinking the water."

When Pepas found out about it, he put warning tape over his refrigerator's water dispenser and started boiling his family's drinking water.

Southlake Utility manager Jim Mcloskey told News 6 anyone who uses the online portal should have received an alert. He said he's willing to talk to customers who did not to determine if there was a larger problem.

Mcloskey said his company is also considering using social media to communicate with customers in the future.

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