For more than three years now, some of us have tried to warn the citizens of Bristol, Warren and Barrington that there were serious problems at the Bristol County Water Authority. Bristol Town Council Chairman Ken Marshall not only refused to give any credibility to our cautionary calls, but even went so far as to state at the Forum held 2-1/2 years ago that it reminded him of the "Spanish Inquisition!"
Anyone who dared to come forward at town meetings with a question was vilified and labeled a "troublemaker." All three Town Councils repeatedly reappointed directors that were at the root of the problem.
The fact that there is no water for the residents of Poppasquash is indeed a travesty. And it is only the tip of the iceberg. The Anawan Club is suing the BCWA; the state of Massachusetts is suing the BCWA; the Franklin Court issue has still not been rectified; the low-pressure area still has not been addressed; the infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes; there is no money to complete the East Providence interconnect (yes, the one that we were told was completed 2-1/2 years ago); and that is just the beginning.
It was good to see several residents from Poppasquash come forward to speak at the recent Bristol Town Council meeting to voice their concerns regarding the Bristol County Water Authority's recent removal of the fire hydrants in the area. Many were left scrambling for new insurance policies, and were notably discontented with the action and subsequent explanation.
To say that the pipes were placed there 100 years ago is hardly an explanation as to why they have not been maintained. There was testimony given that a builder had been given the authority to come off of these existing pipes to service a new development in the 80s. How does this happen?
Here is the link to the town meeting and the discussion starts at 1 hour 43 minutes into the tape. www.bristolri.us/videos/brtc08-29-12.wmv.
There is a workshop planned to discuss BCWA issues and I hope that as many ratepayers as possible plan to attend and ask questions. The date and time is to be announced. I will post it as soon as it is available.
Many changes are being implemented at the BCWA due to the new directors that were appointed, and we applaud these actions. However, they cannot perform miracles overnight! In order to really grasp the scope of the situation at hand, ratepayers MUST insist on a complete forensic audit of the Bristol County Water Authority Act funds starting in 1993. This is the only way they/we can begin to understand the depth of this problem. Not only do they deserve answers, they deserve to know just how far-reaching the problems are and what will be "turned off" next.
Fortunately, this is an election year. You will have the opportunity to vote out many of the elected officials who have refused to act in your best interests, but have chosen to support the "old boy network" instead.
Is it time to turn to the PUC?