News Feature | June 6, 2014

Ratepayers Want Answers For Water Violations

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

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Residents of a small Pennsylvania community want to hold their leaders accountable after the local water authority flouted state standards and incurred a big fine. 

The Steelton Borough Water Authority, which serves a town of about 6,000 people, was cited for water treatment and reporting violations. They owe the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) a $55,200 fine, according to the Patriot-News. 

Residents and politicians want answers from those in charge. 

"State Rep. Patty Kim called for the resignations of Steelton Water Authority board members...as a measure to help build back the public’s trust, which she deemed 'broken' following recently announced drinking water violations," PennLive reported

“The majority of board members should resign to restore the integrity of the board,” said Kim, D-Harrisburg, in the report. “What happened was pretty major. Public health was compromised, and I think we need to restore the faith in the water authority.”

Residents also want to see some accountability. "A group of Steelton residents called for the resignations of the borough’s mayor and other water authority members over their handling of water treatment issues discovered by the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection," Fox 43 reported

"Further, resident Candice Ann Kinter said she planned to start the process this week of trying to recall Mayor Tom Acri," the report said. 

What did the mayor have to say?

“The residents, they can do anything they want to do. They can call for anything they want,” Acri said in the report. 

Acri has been asked by residents about whether he responded properly to the water problem. 

"When asked why the borough didn’t notify residents of the DEP violations sooner, Acri said, 'maybe you’ll hear an answer [during town meetings],''" PennLive reported in a separate piece. 

"But Acri said, as far as he knows, the water authority was never notified it needed to send out a boil water advisory on the 24 days Giardia wasn’t property disinfected in the water system," the report said. 

“I never knew we had to boil water because I wouldn’t do that to the residents,” Acri said in the report. 

For more on policy and politics, check out Water Online's Regulations and Legislation Solution Center

Image credit: "Water," Jan Tik © 2005, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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