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Councilmember Carol Schwartz, press release
Schwartz blasts WASA on proposed water rate hike
April 1, 2004




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April 1, 2004

Schwartz Blasts WASA on Proposed Water Rate Hike

DC Councilmember Carol Schwartz, Chair of the Council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment, made the following comments concerning the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority's (WASA) proposed rate increase during her opening statement at the Committee's hearing this evening on lead in the water:

"WASA is currently holding meetings with respect to a proposed rate increase for its customers this coming fiscal year. I think it is outrageous that WASA would be attempting to increase rates at this time. This city is now dealing with the problem of lead in some of the residents' drinking water precisely because of WASA's inaction, its insensitivity and its lack of urgency in responding. Now they have the audacity to consider increasing rates on District customers, many of whom have been forced to obtain water filters, run their faucets for ten minutes at a time and play a cat-and-mouse game with WASA regarding determining whether or not a particular residence has a lead service line. Unbelievable!"

"Both I, as well as City Administrator Robert Bobb, specifically told WASA weeks ago not to do this. Instead, WASA, which raised rates by 2.5 percent only six months ago, has arrogantly gone ahead and proceeded to consider a rate increase. Based on what? WASA's stellar performance?"

"I just want to say to the WASA officials sitting here today that this is extraordinarily poor judgment on your part, and I call on you to cancel any future meetings regarding proposed rate increases on the residents of the District at this time. The Mayor and I have also written to the President and will have letters delivered tomorrow to the appropriate members of the House and Senate requesting that the District and WASA be reimbursed for the costs associated with managing and abating the lead problem. You know this is occurring, so proceeding with a rate increase, and perhaps using this crisis as a basis for its argument in favor of this, is disingenuous at best."

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