By Pat Cooper
The woman who was the Brooks water department’s contact person is going on the record to correct what she says are erroneous statements made by both Brooks mayor Dan Langford and Fayette County Water System director Tony Parrott.
At its monthly meeting on August 19, the Brooks Town Council discussed the fact that when residents received their monthly water bills, they also received notification from the Fayette County Water System that indicated the town’s water has not been tested for lead and copper levels in several years and they were, therefore, in violation.
Lead and copper sampling is required every three years. The county water system received a Notice of Violation for not collecting 10 lead and copper samples in July 2010. The Fayette County Water System started operating the Brooks Water System June 24, 2010.
In part, the notice said that since the Fayette County Water System was required to monitor the drinking water for specific contaminants, and that monitoring had not been done, the system couldn’t guarantee the quality of the drinking water between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012.
The samples bottles were mailed to the Department of Natural Resources’ contact at the Brooks Water Department to collect samples for the January 2010 to December 2012 time frame, but, according to water system manager Tony Parrott, the county never received the sample bottles from Brooks.
“The Fayette County Water system wasn’t in error,” Parrott stressed.
At that meeting, mayor Dan Langford said this was the first time he had become aware of any problem.
“Apparently in the transition from our water system to Fayette County there was some samples that should have been taken that weren’t. It’s not a good thing, but I found out about it about 30 minutes ago and I don’t know what I could have done, but it’s apparently being handled.”
Langford also said the council would be sending an inquiry to the water system to find out what happened.
“It seems that somewhere between the Fayette Water System, the Town of Brooks, and Janice Hayne (the Brooks water department contact), our water system operator up until June 24, 2010, when we turned operations over to the county, the ball somehow inadvertently got dropped on the required 2010 triennial inspection.”
Between March 2009 until June 30, 2010 (actually June 24th as that is when the Town of Brooks entered into and executed an intergovernmental agreement with the Fayette County Water System) Hayne served as the water system operator for the Town of Brooks.
According to Hayne, Langford’s statements are incorrect, as she bore no responsibility in the required monitoring and/or testing for lead and copper not occurring. “ln light of this, it is very obvious that the DNR knew who was operating and handling the water testing for the Town of Brooks as they sent this notice to the Fayette County Water System and not me. The Fayette County Water System did nothing at the time they received the NOV to satisfy the requirement for the lead and copper testing, even though they were notified that they were in violation --actually it took them three years to even address the issue and schedule testing to address/resolve the NOV.”
Hayne said the DNR sent out the water sample collection material in July 2010 (as the sampling is to take place between July and September).
“The DNR sent the test kit to the wrong person/entity as I was no longer the water operator for the Town of Brooks and had no further responsibility for water testing. It appears that the DNR was never properly notified by the Town of Brooks and/or the Fayette County Water System that there had been a change in the Town of Brooks water system operator (even though it is confusing why they sent the NOV to the Fayette County Water System if they did not know about the transfer). lt would be hard to hold me responsibly for something I was no longer employed to handle.
“ln addition, at the Town of Brooks council meeting in July 2010, my husband Steve Hayne - who was a council member at that time, returned all water testing/sampling/monitoring material to the Town of Brooks clerk Cynthia Winkle.”
Hayne also takes issue with the statement that “sample bottles were mailed to the DNR's contact at the Brooks Water Department to collect samples for the January 2010 to December 2012 time frame and Tony Parrott indicated that the county never received the sample bottles from Brooks.
“These statements are incorrect on many accords. First, the DNR and the Town of Brooks records indicate that water samples were taken each month from January 2010 to June 2010, submitted to the DNR and the results provided to the town of Brooks for record purposes. It would be hard for me (since I was no longer employed by the town of Brooks after June 30, 2010) to provide any water testing whatsoever from June 30, 2010 onward and the statement from Tony Parrot is way off base as he knows that the Fayette County Water System was operating the Brooks water system from June 24, 2010 onward. The intergovernmental agreement they executed with the Brooks indicates they are responsible for all water testing from June 24, 2010 onward.”
Hayne says the incorrect statements from Parrott and Langford “are nothing more than them trying to cast shadows on the truth about who is really responsible for these mistakes and definitely give credence to their attempt to ‘throw as much mud as you can and see what sticks’.”