Regional Water Leaders Decry Poway Mayor Steve Vaus’s “Recklessness”

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Press Release
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


Comments 1

  1. Unfortunately, the news stations left out the most important part of this story, which is the need for residential and business customers in Poway, to discard and replace their various water filters, such as refrigerator filters, under sink filters, RO pre filters, as well as having their larger whole house filters sanitized.

    Restaurants should replace the ice machine filters, coffee machine filters, soda machine filters, due to the fact that trapped bacteria will multiply inside them, creating potential illness for consumers of water from the contaminated source. Just running your water for 30 minutes, is not good enough.

    This could be days, to weeks, to months from now.

    This was my input as a water industry professional.

    They seem to fixate on the political aspects, and not on the actual issue.

    Too bad, as Poway City officials could open themselves to potential litigation, due to this misinformation, or lack of information being dispersed to it’s citizenry. I’m baffled at the lack of attention to this secondary piece of the puzzle. Feeling folksy towards your constituents is nice, but good feelings aren’t going to adequately remedy this situation.

    Bottom line is this. If you are a Poway resident or business, you need to take these precautionary measures. Shoot the messenger, but at least, listen to the message.

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