Letter to the editor: Water issue

To the editor:

I write to you with concern regarding how the City of Lawrence communicated recent water main breaks in the 1200 block of New York Street (and elsewhere). I live near an affected area, and my water had a pondlike odor that I have never noticed before. Despite the odor, I was told I was not within the affected area.

A brief timeline:

• New York Street residents reported rising water in the street at approximately 11:30 p.m. June 11. The city did not respond until 1:20 a.m. June 12.

• I can find only one communication between the city and residents at large about water main breaks and road closures for June 13.

• Sometime late on June 13, some 19th Street residents received a hand-delivered PSA stating municipal water should be boiled. The flyer did not indicate which neighborhoods were under a water boil advisory.

• On June 14 between 11 a.m. and noon, a Nextdoor.com user reported “just receiving” a City PSA containing information similar to what was hand distributed on June 13.

My complaint: Once the mains broke, the city should have communicated it was working to ascertain the integrity of its water supply system, not just that breaks occurred. Once contamination was discovered, the city should have immediately communicated to all Lawrence residents that contamination was suspected in a specific neighborhood and was being investigated. All Lawrence residents have a right to know. Saying more up front saves time and a damaged reputation later.

Haines Eason,



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