The Waltham Engineering Department has acknowledged that it mishandled notifiying residents about a recent water quality issue, according to a city report.
In a report by City Engineer Stephen Casazza, the city now says it could have taken more and better steps to notify Waltham residents about coliform bacteria in the city's drinking water supply.
The report also reveals that the city drafted a public notice on Aug. 27, but disseminating it was delayed because additional water testing from the same area indicated coliform was the water.
The report comes after City Councilors recently demanded answers on what they saw as the city mishandling the issue.
The report also reveals additional details of how and when the public was notifited.
In the report, Casazza writes, "that timing of public notice vs. receipt by water customers needs to be more efficient [and] that a better presentation of the situation on the city website may give water customers more information and background." The city also should have used its Reverse 911 system to inform customers, according to the report.
A routine sampling of water taken at 126 Smith St. on Aug. 20 detected coliform bacteria and subsequent samples in the same area showed similar results, according to the report.
As a result, the state Department of Environmental Protection on Aug. 27 notified Casazza that the city must issue a public notice on the coliform bacteria, according to the report. The DEP gave Waltham 30 days to issue the notice.
On Sept. 11, Casazza asked the DEP for additional assistance to address the coliform issue but the DEP told him it was an "isolated" and to proceed with a water project in the Smith Street area, according to the report. According the report, the public notice was delayed because the city was unsure whether the first positive test and subsequents positives required them to send two seperate noticies, according to the report. The DEP then ordered the city to send one notice, which was was sent out through postal mail on Sept. 21 and put on the city's website, according to the report.
After discovering the bacteria, the city began flushing hydrants, replaced the water meter and cleared sprikler lines in the Smith Street area, according to report. City officials also inspected the area for the source of the bacteria.
FOR THE FULL REPORT, CLICK ON THE PDF BOX TO THE RIGHT.