BOYNTON BEACH, FLORIDA — Residents in Boynton Beach have been advised not to go swimming in the Intracoastal Waterway due to lingering contamination caused by a sewage spill last week.
“The city has not seen a spill of this extent,” Boynton Beach spokesperson Chelsea Sanabia told the Sun Sentinel on Wednesday.
On July 3, a 20-inch sanitary pipe burst and began spilling sewage into the Intracoastal. It wasn’t repaired until July 6. The leak resulted in an estimated 15 million gallons of waste polluting the waterway. For perspective, that’s more than twice the size of a killer whale tank at SeaWorld.
Officials have said that the spill did not impact drinking water, but residents have been told they should avoid the water in the area.
“Anyone who comes into contact with the water in this area should wash thoroughly, especially before eating or drinking,” the Florida Department of Health stated in a press release. “Children and older adults, as well as people with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to disease, so every precaution should be taken if needed.”
The City of Boynton Beach and Florida Department of Environmental Protection are working together to coordinate testing and cleanup actions.
For more information about the potential health effects of wastewater overflow, Floridians can contact the Florida Health Department of Palm Beach County at 561-837-5900 or email@example.com.