A young boy is fighting for his life after contracting a bacterial infection from contaminated water at Sand Point Park
The sewer spill at Sand Point occurred in late December 2020, but city officials did not realize that a sewer pipe had burst at the bottom of a pond until three days later, by which time over 7.2 million gallons of sewage had already flowed into retention ponds at the park.
The boy’s mother filed a lawsuit against the city in November 2021, alleging negligence for failing to properly maintain the sewage pipe and warn residents of the dangers caused by the sewage leak.
The suit claims that the boy went paddle boarding and swimming in the Indian River Lagoon near Sand Point Park and was in the water several times. Shortly after his outing, he began experiencing back pain, which spread to his legs and eventually led to him being hospitalized for over two months.
According to the lawsuit, despite receiving over six rounds of chemotherapy treatments, the boy, who spent over two months in the hospital, is still unable to walk.
The suit further alleges that the boy’s treating physician informed him that the bacterial infection was likely caused by the sewage spill, as the bacteria that causes this infection is found in sewage.
Another person who had been swimming near Sand Point Park had just been admitted to the hospital for the same bacterial infection, according to the suit.
The city of Titusville was fined $200,000 by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for the sewage spill, but it was allowed to offset the fine amount by installing plant-filled floating islands to update excess nutrients in the park’s ponds.
The lawsuit does not specify a dollar amount of damages sought, but it is in excess of $30,000, meaning the suit should be handled in circuit courts as opposed to county court.
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The city has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, claiming that it had done its duty to warn the public of the dangers of the spill. However, the boy’s lawyer responded in a counter filing, stating that the heart of the matter was not whether the city warned the public, but rather whether it had maintained its sewage facilities properly.
A hearing on the motion to dismiss is set for April.