The FBI and Secret Service are heading up the investigation after a hacker gained access into the water treatment system of Oldsmar, Florida.

Officials say the hacker tried to increase the levels of lye in the city’s water last Friday, putting thousands at risk of being poisoned.

“This is somebody who is trying, as it appears on the surface, to do something bad. It’s a bad act. It’s a bad actor,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.

An employee noticed the levels of sodium hydroxide (lye) jumped to more than 100 times its normal level.

“This isn’t just ‘Oh, we’re putting a little bit of chlorine or a little bit of fluoride, or a little bit of something,’ we’re basically talking about lye that you are taking from 100 parts per million to 11,100,” Gualtieri added.

Officials quickly fixed the levels and say the public was never in danger.

It’s still unknown if the breach happened from someone locally, nationally, or outside the U.S.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio said the incident “should be treated as a matter of national security.”

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On Monday, February 8, 2021, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri held a press conference at our North District Station to address the...

Posted by Pinellas County Sheriff's Office on Monday, February 8, 2021


Katherine Viloria is Beasley Media Group's Fort Myers Digital Content Manager. She loves to write, snap photos, and watch Grey's Anatomy. Connect with her on Instagram @alittlethisalittlekat