Friday, December 04, 2009

NECN, Gloucester and Tap Water

  • Watching NECN this morning. They discussed the media at 8:20am today in relation to the Tiger Woods story -- showing how one paper reported one thing, another reported a completely contradicting story, and another reported something similar (but slightly different) than the first. Basically, they just pointed out how ridiculous the media can be now. Two thumbs up. Stuff like this makes me respect NECN so much more than any other local tv news (or print news, for that matter).
  • Gloucester was slammed with a state order to pay $8 million in sewer upgrades for deficiencies it 'allowed' to happen, with an additional $80,000 in fines, or $15,000 if it makes the repairs quickly enough. Now, this money obviously needs to be spent -- the tap water was literally unsafe to drink for two weeks this summer and had to be boiled before use during that time span.
  • The thing that bothered me about this story is the fact that the state seems to think that Gloucester was just being negligent in its repairs. Over the past few years, Gloucester has been in a desperate budget situation, in no small part due to the state. The state not only cut Gloucester's aid by a 1/3, but also has, for years, delayed giving Gloucester it's fair share of Chapter 70 education funding. It's one of several towns, including my own, which gets screwed by the state year in and year out. If the state wants minimum standards kept, it's got to give cities and towns the tools and funding to come up with solutions. The only entity that should be fined for what happened in Gloucester is the state, for forcing the town to be in a situation where it had to be so negligent in its services to begin with.
  • All that said, readers of this site know that I'm a big fan of tap water. While the Gloucester tap water hiccup is something no one wants to hear about re: drinking water, especially those who drink bottled water, this is actually an example of the system working. Tap water is strictly regulated, whereas bottled water is not. Not only did the stricter regulations make it more likely that Gloucester's problems would be discovered, but it makes it more likely that those problems get fixed and won't happen again. Who's going to find that problem in your bottled water -- the very bottles that are more likely to allow bacteria to fester? Finally, for the cost of one bottle of tap water at CVS, you can get well more than a year's worth of cleaner, better tap water. Get rid of the Poland Springs and buy your own bottle for your water -- fill it up at the tap and save yourself the money and trouble.

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