Pasco County, Aqua Utilities in battle over water quality - FOX 13 News

Pasco County, Aqua Utilities in battle over water quality

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Marilyn Allison gets some of the most expensive water in Pasco County. It comes from a company called Aqua Utilities.

"I just don't use my water as often as I would if it wasn't so expensive. I just can't afford to do that," Allison said.  

Allison's water is not just expensive, she said it's bad.

"We had the Aqua water shut off," explained customer Shea Bennett. "The smell that was coming from it was really really bad smell."

The Florida Public Service Commission agrees. In 2010, when Aqua asked the state for higher rates, the commission called Aqua's service "marginal."

Now, Aqua wants a judge to void the "marginal" service declaration.

"In our opinion, the commission did this without adequate substance or legal basis," company spokeswoman Gretchen Toner wrote.

"Based on our understanding, the commission made a determination that requires the citation of a specific violation of either a PSC statute or DEP (Department of Environmental Regulation), but provided no such citation."

State Senator Mike Fasano called the company's legal maneuver a back-door attempt to raise rates.

"The bottom line is they lied to the people," Fasano said.

If the judge agrees with Aqua's claim that their service should be considered "satisfactory," the PSC could be asked to reconsider the 2010 rate increase request that was only partially granted.

"...What Aqua has done is they've been deceitful they haven't been honest," Fasano said. "They said they were going to go in there and provide quality water without having to raise rates."

No hearing date has been set for Aqua's lawsuit. 

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