FDEP Says Vero Beach, FL’s “Water Source…is in Pitiful Condition.”


Pictured above, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Large System Survey Form for FDEP Sanitary Survey, City of Vero Beach Public Water System.  The FDEP survey was conducted February 20 & 21, 2019.  It was an above ground survey.  Bottom of page one/ 19 pages of inspection sheets.

The FDEP report was one of two subjects discussed during a Vero Beach Utilities Commission meeting on August 27, 2019.   The meeting has not been reported.  The first six rows were empty except for one person.

Vice Chairman Bob Auwaerter, Indian River Shores Vice Mayor and the Shores representative on Vero’s Utility System began the discussion.  Mr. Auwaerter brought the topic forward after being provided with the correspondence from a Public Records Request.

“I’ve read bureaucratic reports,” he said,  “and I was frankly pretty concerned about…when a bureaucrat writes ‘water source is in pitiful condition,’ that concerns me.

“It also seems serious to me that they only gave you 30 days to respond.  Normally it is a month or two.”


Bob Auwaerter

Vero Beach Water and Sewer Director Robert Bolton said “There isn’t anything in the report that says there is any problem with water quality or anything else.”

Mr. Bolton referred to the Survey as a “typical housekeeping site review.  Actually it was performed in 2016 and DEP never sent to us.  It wasn’t received until three months before the timeframe of the 2019 review.”

Auwaerter asked why Mr. Bolton’s staff wouldn’t want to “see what the results are before forgetting about it.”


Robert Bolton (left)


FDEP requested Water and Sewer to respond to seven specific recommendations within the 30 days.  Here is Mr. Bolton’s April 12, 2019 response to the each for the recommendations  from FDEP.


Bolton letter pg 1

Bolton letter pg 2

At the beginning of the August 27 meeting during public comment Dr. Stephen Flaherty, a utility watchdog, said that a periodic City Report should be a established on exactly the same points the State was checking on and those should be provided to this Committee.”

The only other Commissioner to speak other than Mr. Auwaerter and Chairwoman Jane Burton, who indicated the City was fallowing all requirement and regulations related to water quality, was Commissioner Judy Orcutt.  Commissioner Orcutt had attended a Clean Water Roundtable with Senator Mayfield “where there was lots of conversation about perhaps requiring utilities to have an asset management plan.”

“I’m a true believer…that anyone ought to have an asset management plan, but if you do it with one utility then everyone has to do it, said Mr. Bolton.”  Basically you can’t have people shopping rates if one utility costs more because it has borne the expense an asset management plan.

Ms. Orcott: “We need to move forward with an asset management plan including water pipes in the ground.”

2019 Vero Beach Utilities Commission

  • Jane Burton – Chairman  ———  Laura Moss – Nov. 2020
  • Robert Auwaerter –– Vice Chairman    (IR Shores Rep.)
  • Chuck Mechling —– Harry Howle III – Nov. 2019
  • Bob McCabe ——–  Anthony W. Young – Nov. 2020
  • Lance Morgan ——- Val Zudans – Nov. 2019
  • John Sanders ——- Robbie Bracket – Nov. 2020
  • Mark Mucher ——– Member at Large
  • Judy Orcutt ——— Alternate 1
  • Richard G. McDermott, Jr. — (Alternate IR Shores Rep.)




Vice Chairman Bob Auwaerter is a candidate for Indian River County Commission Seat 5.  This does not constitute a political endorsement.




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