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Carol Schwartz
Talking Points for Water Quality Task Force Announcement
February 11, 2004




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Carol Schwartz
Talking Points For Water Quality Task Force Announcement

February 12, 2003 [sic; actually delivered February 11, 2004]

Frustrated that WASA still does not seem to comprehend how upset people have been with the at-best lackluster communication with its customers about the lead issue

Apparent "bunker mentality" at WASA when they were confronted with reports about lead in water – has not served them well

Certainly has not served WASA customers well

As soon as we heard the news from the media, Council "got it" – there was a sense of urgency here, and "we are going to keep that sense of urgency"

Immediately scheduled emergency hearing

At that hearing, one week ago on February 4, citizens who testified were loud and clear in their concern

Several citizens at hearing suggested idea of a Task Force

One week later announcing its formation

A number of ideas discussed as to who should be involved in the Task Force

Decided most effective composition would be a working group

Overriding factor in conclusion to create the interagency working group as the Task Force has been the desire to get results as soon as possible

Task Force will work with WASA to help address and reduce the lead in water, and to ensure that WASA learns to communicate vital information to its customers promptly and clearly

When chairing the Council of Governments, immediately after September 11, 2001, I set up a Task Force on Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (model for Water Quality Task Force)

First meeting of that group was open – tough words needed to be said and sometimes were not said, and speeches were being made that were not always necessary (thus made the decision to close the meetings so that real work could get done)

Any budgetary decisions or legislative initiatives agreed upon by Task Force will take place in a public forum

Task Force will be composed with representation from the entities listed below:

Mayor (co-chair of task force)

Carol Schwartz, Chair of the Committee on Public Works and the Environment (co-chair of task force)

Linda Cropp, Chair of the Council

Sandy Allen, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Human Services

Robert Bobb, Office of the City Administrator

Glen Gerstell, Chair WASA Board of Directors

Jerry Johnson, General Manager WASA

DC Department of Health

Dan Tangherlini, Director DC Department of Transportation

Thomas P. Jacobus, General Manager, Washington Aqueduct

Task Force may interact on an ad hoc basis with other governmental authorities, such as the US Environmental Protection Agency, the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, and the DC Public Schools

To include relevant scientific, environmental, and consumer perspectives, the task force will confer with any relevant stakeholders and experts as appropriate.

Submit report by April 9, 2004.

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