Getting the word out

  • Friday, July 11, 2014

To the Editor:

Tuesday, many Georgetown residents suffered a temporary loss of water, and possible contamination of their water supply.

Noticing a drop in water pressure, I contacted the City’s Water Utilities Department, and was informed that there had been a break in a water main; no mention was made of possible contamination.

Several hours later, I received an email from Paige Sawyer containing a memorandum from Will Cook, Water Utilities Manager, advising Georgetown residents to “…vigorously boil their water for one (1) full minute prior to drinking or cooking.”

If I had not received Paige’s email, I would not have known of this advisory.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were still people in Georgetown unaware that their water might be contaminated.

This incident raises the question, “How does the City of Georgetown best notify its citizens of possible hazards?”

If the primary means is word-of-mouth, then a more effective method must be instituted.

If the city feels its obligation is met by only posting information on its website, it is not enough. Many citizens do not have access to a computer, and others seldom venture onto the City’s website.

When the residents of Georgetown need to be warned of a potentially hazardous condition, then all means must be utilized.

In addition to posting information on line, TV stations should be asked to address the potential hazard during newscasts and to scroll cautions at the bottom of the TV screen; radio stations should be requested to broadcast the information throughout the day; and if time is of the essence, police and fire vehicles should drive through neighborhoods warning residents.

As it is, someone returning to their home Tuesday evening would not have known their water was possibly contaminated, unless they have a neighbor like Paige Sawyer. We can do better.

Bob Maslowsky

Georgetown

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