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Waltham City Council Demands Answers on Water Quality Notice

Councilors are annoyed over recent water quality notice.

Waltham City Councilors are angry over a recent notice warning residents of a bacteria in the city's drinking water supply. 

Several councilors, during an Oct. 9 City Council meeting, expressed concerns over what they believed was a confusing notice informing residents that coliform bacteria had been found in the drinking water supply. City Councilor Kathy McMenimen said the notice was confusing while City Councilor Edmund Tarallo said the notice should have been more specific.

The council has asked City Engineer Stephen Casazza, whose office distributed the notice, to provide more information on it at a future council meeting. 

Another councilor, Robert Logan, said he was annoyed at how and when the notice was distributed. Logan said that it should have been distributed more quickly after the bacteria was first discovered in August especially since it contained a warning specifically directed at elderly residents and anybody with weak immune systems. The city did not send the notice until Sept. 13.  

"How could they allow those people not to have that information … for a month, when they could have gotten notice out quite quickly,” Logan said.

Logan said the city needs to start using social media to distribute public notices. The Waltham Police Department use social media to distribute information, but none of the City Hall offices use any social media platforms. Logan also suggested the city more frequently use its Reverse 911 system to distribute public informaiton. He has filed a resolution with the city's E-Committee to discuss the matter.

The water quality notice comes on the heels of the the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority recently telling the city that "everything in our water system was fine,” according to Tarallo. "But then we get this," Tarallo said, "I was completely baffled and confused."

Jason Wichern October 10, 2012 at 01:11 PM
its not just the notice went out on the 13th.. its we didnt receive it in the mail until the 26th. That is ridiculous and needs to be answered why it took so long to receive the notice in the mail.
Jen P October 10, 2012 at 01:28 PM
I also received the notice at the end of the month. The City has a website. Why wasn't the information posted there immediately?
Ryan Grannan-Doll (Editor) October 10, 2012 at 01:35 PM
It was posted on the website, but not the front page. I had to dig through the site to find it under the Engineering Department page. http://www.city.waltham.ma.us/engineering
Rebecca Cyr October 16, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Regardless of the communication flubs, I'm concerned about the overall message. The letter indicated that contaminated water was a risk to elderly and infants. I have been preparing bottles for my infant (now 11 months old) using Waltham water, and am unclear of the impact. At the time of letter receipt I contacted the city and was informed that she would have shown symptoms of illness if she was infected with the bacteria. Is that it? Can I consider us safe? I wish there was a clearer resolution.
Ryan Grannan-Doll (Editor) October 16, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Rebecca, I think this has the answer: http://waltham.patch.com/articles/city-explains-water-bacteria-notice

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