City of Galesburg Responds to Inaccurate Story Published by the Guardian

June 3, 2016 09:19 AM
The City of Galesburg announced today its response to a story appearing in the Guardian, a UK-based newspaper, that included Galesburg in a list of 33 US cities it sampled that "violated EPA guidelines" for testing drinking water for lead in the last decade. The story falsely alleges that Galesburg was one of 21 cities that "instructed testers to pre-flush water pipes before testing for lead content against EPA guidance." At no time during the past decade has the City of Galesburg violated federal or state water testing guidelines. The City confirmed earlier today with its principal regulator, the Division of Public Water Supplies for the Illinois EPA, that the instructions we provided were allowed and acceptable practices under federal guidelines.
The story, which is primarily focused on large cities such as Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia incorrectly asserts that there were long-established United States EPA water testing guidelines in place disallowing pre-flushing  prior to February of 2016, at which point, its guidance was simply "EPA recommends that sampling instructions not contain a pre-stagnation flushing step." The article is also unclear about the fact that the principal regulator of municipal water supplies are state environmental agencies, not the federal EPA. The Illinois EPA issued revised water testing guidelines in a letter to water supply officials statewide on April 18, 2016, stating: "no pre-flushing is allowed."   
Galesburg has always adhered to explicit regulatory guidelines and continued that practice in this case, revising its testing instructions upon receipt of the updated guidelines from these regulators. Its instructions to testers in our most recent round of testing (April, 2016) included the conspicuous statement: "DO NOT FLUSH ANY WATER FROM YOUR FAUCET PRIOR TO FILLING THE BOTTLE" in full compliance with the revised regulations.
The City of Galesburg has informed The Guardian of the inaccuracies in its story as it relates to Galesburg and requested that the story be corrected by removing Galesburg from its list of cities alleged to have violated EPA policies.


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