Senate approves change in city drinking water reporting requirement


The Senate has approved legislation that will make a small change in a public information regulation that will mean significant cost savings for the city of Warwick.

Sponsored by Sen. William A. Walaska (D-Dist. 30, Warwick), the bill, 2012-S 2278, will allow Warwick to post information regarding the municipal water supply system on the official city website, rather than by the methods currently required by law – patron mailing, a community newsletter delivered to every household or a community calendar delivered to every household.

“This is a minor change in the reporting requirements that should not in any way inconvenience the public but that will save the community many thousands of dollars,” Walaska said in a statement. “I have been informed by community officials that only a small handful of city residents each year seek this information, which means spending city money to inform the entire community is, quite simply, wasteful.”

According to Daniel O’Rouke, director of the city’s water division, printing the flyer costs $3,773 and another $5,373 is spent mailing it to every Warwick Water Division customer.

Current law provides that any community water system serving a population of more than 10,000 must deliver a full copy of the consumer confidence report (required by the EPA under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act) to each household within the water system’s service area.

“By posting the information on the city website, the city is essentially providing this information to everyone with Internet access,” said Walaska. “The legislation specifies that the material posted online must also provide for a downloadable print copy of the report. I believe that covers all bases in terms of informing the public and does so without spending a lot of taxpayer dollars.”

The bill also requires that the report also be provided, in print form for posting, to the city library, the mayor’s office and the water department headquarters.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Erin P. Lynch (D-Dist. 31, Warwick) and Sen. Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick).


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