North Port well problems boost city water's appeal
Oak Henthorn doesn't drink the water coming from his faucets.
He won't cook with it either.
Henthorn's home, like thousands of others in North Port, relies on a well. The water smells like sulfur, Henthorn said, and it comes with hidden costs.
“The water is really hard on the equipment,” said Henthorn, 54 . “You have to replace your faucets every couple of years. ... We've replaced the well pumps three times. We've pretty much rebuilt the system once already.”
But Henthorn sees a solution on the horizon, one that doesn't require buying bottled water.
This month North Port began construction on a $1.8 million pilot project that will bring city water lines to the Madagascar neighborhood where Henthorn lives. It is a relatively small initiative, with a much larger purpose: to begin to bring more city services to Sarasota County's largest and fastest-growing municipality.
North Port is a particular challenge because, incorporating 104 square miles, it is one of the largest cities geographically in Florida. By contrast, Sarasota is 25 square miles and Bradenton 14 square miles. Thousands of homes were built without connection to city water and sewers. Bringing those services in years later is expensive and requires support from residents to cover the costs.
By October, 230 homes in the Madagascar neighborhood should have the option to connect to city water. Any new homes built in the neighborhood will be required to connect.