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Government and People
Councilmember Harold Brazil Calls For the Creation of a Residential Lead Pipe Replacement Fund To Help D.C. Residents
|For Immediate Release
Monday, March 15, 2004
Today, in a letter to U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard, District of Columbia Councilmember Adrian Fenty (D - Ward 4) called for an investigation into whether the Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) violated federal law when they "consciously" decided not to alert residents and authorities about the high levels of lead present in District drinking water.
In his letter, Fenty stated that the U.S. Attorney should investigate whether representatives of WASA, or other related District agencies, were criminally negligent when they failed to notify residents that there were "illegal" levels of lead in the water. Fenty points out in his letter that lead in the water serves as a "poison" to young children, literally stunting the development of the brain.
"Over the past week", stated Fenty, "a number of my constituents have called upon me to ask for the prosecution and levying of fines upon WASA for their callous disregard of their duty to notify District residents about poisonous levels of lead in the drinking water. I hope that this investigation will occur promptly and that all representatives who are guilty of criminal activity will be brought to justice."
Fenty's letter asks for the investigation of current and former employees going back to the mid1990s when WASA could have begun to take steps to reduce the levels of lead in the water of the District of Columbia.
COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
THE JOHN A. WILSON BUILDING
1350 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, N.W.
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20004
March 15, 2004
United States Attorney
District of Columbia
555 4th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear U.S. Attorney Howard:
As you are aware, over the past 6 - 7 weeks, the general public has been made aware of the presence of illegal levels of lead in the water of the District of Columbia. As you are also aware, the presence of lead in drinking water is known to be a "poison" to young children, preventing the proper development of their brains. Over the same period, media reports and public hearings have yielded information demonstrating that representatives of the Water and Sewer Authority consciously decided to keep information from District residents about the high levels of lead.
Accordingly, my office has recently received concern from residents who would like your office to work with the appropriate sanctioning agencies to investigate
I hope that you will focus your investigation not only on current managers at WASA but also go back to the mid-1990s when WASA apparently made a conscious decision not to use best practices of putting phosphates in the water to reduce the presence of lead. Any and all officials responsible for this decisionmaking should be investigated.
I look forward to your prompt response on these concerns.
Councilmember, Ward 4
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