NewsPolk County


Retirement community without water for 16 hours one week after Hepatitis A scare

Posted at 5:38 PM, Mar 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-11 18:17:23-04

Residents in a Winter Haven retirement community say they were without water for hours Sunday into Monday, which left them unable to shower, use the bathroom, and wash their hands.

Madeline Falardeau says the water was turned back on Monday around 11:30 after management for Hidden Cove issued a boil water notice.

"Now it’s running,” she said, as she turns on the faucet. But she says it had been out for about 16 hours.

"You want to take a shower, you want to brush yourt teeth, you want to go to the bathroom,” she said. "I was up at two, three in the morning hoping it would come on so I would be able to do some things, and nothing. Then this morning I wake up and nothing.”

She says it's particularly upsetting since just last week, the Florida Department of Health was on site to offer free hepatitis A vaccines.

A notice from the community manager said, “documented cases of the disease” in the “immediate vicinity of Hidden Cove” is why.

“If the CDC told you to do it, I’m like that’s alarming,” she said.

The Department of Health says it’s important to wash your hands after using the bathroom and changing diapers to protect yourself from Hep. A.

“You cant wash your hands! If you went to the bathroom or even if you take your meds, you're hand to mouth. It’s the way we live,” said Falardeau.

A boil water notice was left on her doorstep Monday before the water was turned back on, but she says Sunday the water went out for 3 hours in the morning and they didn’t get a notice.

ABC Action News spoke to the Management team who say they didn’t need to issue one because it wasn’t fully turned off at that time, and that the issue overnight was a leak in the pipe completely unrelated to the Hep. A situation.

The Department of Health says they are aware of the Hepatitis A concern and are working to resolve it now. They also confirm the reason the water was turned off was a mechanical issue.

"I know things happen, I’m sure you know it’s an older community pipes break whatever the problem is but you can’t leave seniors like this for over 16 hours like this. You can’t,” said Falardeau.