Sandy Residents Express Frustration At Water Quality Town Hall

Feb 18, 2019, 11:53 PM | Updated: Feb 19, 2019, 9:00 am

SANDY, Utah – Tensions were high Monday night in Sandy, more than 10 days after a malfunction caused some residents’ pipes to leach significantly dangerous levels of chemicals into their drinking water.

For almost four hours, more than 100 residents demanded answers from city leaders inside the Mount Jordan Middle School’s theater where the town hall had been only slated to last for two hours.

City leaders announced they will be hiring independent investigators to look into the water quality crisis.

Sandy City Public Utilities Director Tom Ward opened the town hall with his version of a timeline of the incident. Lots of folks interrupted with questions or disgust, disagreeing with his take of events, specifically questioning why they weren’t notified about potential problems sooner.

Mayor Kurt Bradburn apologized. He says he had many of the same questions as residents and his staff didn’t inform him properly either.

While he says he wants to make sure something like this never happens again, many folks questioned how they can trust the person who is in charge of their city’s water supply.

“When he’s stating that he doesn’t know how fluoride works in the water, and we’ve had fluoridated water system for 18-19 years, I find that unacceptable,” said resident Laura Blair, as she was leaving the town hall. “The whole farm is affected, and this affects us in a very big way. I’m concerned about the health of my family. I don’t think the mayor’s office is concerned about the health of my family.”

After the town hall, when asked if he’ll hold someone accountable for this, Mayor Bradburn said, “We’re just still in mop up mode. It’s like when you’re in the middle of a hurricane you deal with the hurricane, and then we’ll figure out where to go from there.

He said at this point he doesn’t know if someone will lose their job, but, “We will continue to have those conversations and discussions, but I think it’s safe to say, if you were here tonight for any of the four hours, I am not pleased with the response that we had. And I am responsible for all 800 plus employees we have at the city, but I need to know what is going on and that was not happening clearly this past week, clearly. We will fix that.”

MORE: Volunteers Go Door To Door Collecting Water Samples In Sandy

The mayor made promises to make all water quality information transparent on the city’s website, look into bringing in plumbers to check if folks have long-term pipe damage, among other things.

He says impacted homes will now get around $25 dollars for water flushing costs and water bottle purchases, but he’s not sure where that money will come from yet.

Also in attendance with concerns was Canyons School District Director of Communications Jeff Haney. He also expressed the district’s frustration, like residents, for not getting notified by the city sooner.

As a precaution, he says over the weekend the district drained water from pipes at schools in potentially impacted areas: Alta HS, Altara Elementary School and Sunrise Elementary School.

In addition, he says they will be bringing in water bottles and cooking meals off campus until they get safe, independent water quality tests back.

City council meets Tuesday night. Some residents told KSL they will be speaking out there as well.

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Sandy Residents Express Frustration At Water Quality Town Hall