Contamination Notice To Sandy Residents Omitted Mandatory Info

Feb 19, 2019, 9:19 PM | Updated: 9:43 pm

SANDY, Utah – A public notice, sent to Sandy city residents affected by extremely high levels of fluoridated water, failed to include mandatory information required by state regulators, Utah’s Division of Drinking Water said Tuesday.

The notice, delivered to residents on Feb. 8, deleted key phrases originally contained in a template, provided by the division’s director, to alert residents of a system malfunction that pumped full-strength fluoride into the water from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7.

Specifically, the letter should have included the headline phrase of “drinking water warning” in capital letters followed by the phrase, “do not ingest warning,” according to the original document provided to KSL by the Division of Drinking Water.

Original Letter

In addition, the city of Sandy’s letter deleted an entire bullet point that warned of possible ongoing issues.

“Corrosive water may cause damage or irreparable impacts to the water system in your home including: pipes, hot water tanks, filters, and water softeners,” the omitted sentence reads.

Residents in the affected area say they were told they could start drinking the water again on Feb. 8 and that they had no idea they needed to be concerned about the plumbing in their homes.

“If the fluoride has eaten off the coating inside the pipes, that’s going to permanent damage,” said David O’Bryant, who lives in the neighborhood where the undiluted fluoride was most potent.

Marie Owens

“My intent is that they would have been warned with the public notice that I authorized on February 8th that there could be a secondary issue,” said Marie Owens, the division’s director.

Owens said it was always a possibility from the beginning of the incident that the acidic water could have eroded the protective lining in pipes and allowed copper, lead and other metals to leach into the water.

Sandy Public Utilities

“Sandy City informed me that they had taken a metals analysis on the 7th,” Owens said. “We told them at that point that we wanted a full metals analysis, not just lead and copper.”

When those results came back on Feb. 15, they showed substantially elevated levels of copper, lead and arsenic.

“They’re significant,” Owens said of the results. “We would consider them significantly dangerous.”

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Whether or not a resident will have long-term health effects will depend on what the levels were at the person’s home and how much water they consumed, Owens said.

Sandy City Mayor Kurt Bradurn told KSL that he is looking into why the notice was modified before reaching residents.

“There was a regulatory notice that was required to go out and there was language that was intentionally changed by our public utilities director,” Bradburn said.

Bradburn said no determination had been made on whether city employees will face consequences.

“When people intentionally keep things from me I can’t know what’s going on, so that is a big area of concern,” Bradburn said.

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Contamination Notice To Sandy Residents Omitted Mandatory Info