from East County Clean Water Coalition
Regional Water Leaders Decry Poway Mayor Steve Vaus’s “Recklessness”
Vaus Urged Residents to Drink Contaminated Water Prior to Testing Results
(Poway Lakes) — Leaders of the East County Clean Water Coalition today decried Mayor Steve Vaus for downplaying the potential risks of contaminated water and urging citizens to drink the water prior to finalization of state testing.
“The first priority of elected officials whether they be water board members or the Mayor of Poway is the health and safety of the citizens,” said Frank Hilliker, board member of the San Diego County Water Authority.
“With the boil water order still in place and testing still being done, Mayor Steve Vaus repeatedly said, ‘the water is safe, I’m drinking it and giving it to my pets.’ Making these irresponsible comments prior to final testing results was reckless. Elected officials should always err on the side of caution,” said Hilliker.
Ignoring Basic Water Infrastructure Upgrades – Poway Ratepayers to be Fined
After the contamination was reported to be a failure in a safety system, Mayor Vaus said, “It was a fluke,” and “nobody is to blame,” noted Hilliker. “The contamination was in fact caused by 50 year-old water infrastructure which had not been upgraded, as discovered by the State Water Resources Control Board,” said Hilliker.
Hilliker cited the State Board: “We’ll be issuing a citation to take corrective action to meet the current water standards which require that the [reservoir] not be directly connected to the storm drain.”
“Water boards or in this case the Mayor and City Council must ensure water infrastructure is safe and up to date,” said Hilliker. “As water officials we must hold our colleagues accountable. The mishandling of the Poway contamination incident erodes the confidence of the public in all water districts.”
East County Clean Water Coalition Members include:
Frank Hilliker, Board Member, Lakeside Water District/ SD County Water Authority Biard Member
Steve Robak, Lakeside Water District
Steve Johnson, Lakeside Water District
Mark Robak, Otay Water District