Meriden city leaders say their constituents deserved better after they failed to alert them about a water issue until after the problem had been dealt with.
It led to a lot of confusion and anger that was on display at Monday’s City Council meeting.
City leaders stress the water is safe but they do admit they made a mess and owe homeowners an apology.
The water coming out of Meriden resident’s faucets has led
to a controversy that spilled out at a public meeting at town hall.
“If I got to go to the supermarket or some other public place to find out there’s a problem with the water we got a problem,” said Rev. Ernestine Holloway of Meriden.
Now everyone admits there is a problem, although local leaders stress the tap water is safe to drink right now.
The issue stems from a communication failure by the city.
“For me, it’s not lack of not only communication but leadership, leadership of city hall at the upper levels,” said Joseph Vollano of Meriden.
In late March tests revealed elevated levels of haloacetic acid in the city water coming from the Broad Brook filtration plant.
Public Utilities director Dennis Waz didn’t alert the public through a letter until more than a month later.
He admits now he was wrong.
“Hopefully it never happens in the future but we will be taking steps to improve the communication on that. We should have been on the earlier part of the communication process rather than the latter,” said Waz.
The notice confused homeowners because the letter explained that long-term exposure to elevated levels of haloacetic acid, which are compounds that contain chlorine can cause cancer.
The letter told homeowners the water was safe to drink because the issue had been fixed.
Waz says there are no safety risks because the issue was fixed almost immediately because the elevated level was only a tiny bit above the safety guidelines for a short period.
Homeowners are still frustrated and hope the communication issue will lead to meaningful change.
Waz says it was not just the general public that was left in the dark. He says he didn’t even tell the city manager about the issue until the day before the letters went out.
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