Testimony on S. 1850, The Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2001
†††††††††††††† Sometime in the middle of June 2001, after a fire leveled two houses down the road, I noticed a funny taste and smell to the water we were receiving from the Pascoag Utility District (PUD).† At first I thought it to be Chlorine and called the water district to question them about the taste and odor.† The water department told me that they had been putting chlorine in the water because they had drained something (I donít remember the word they used) due to the fire.† This sounded reasonable to me and so I did nothing further at that time.
†††††††††††††† About the middle of July I became concerned because the smell and odor still remained, but now it seemed more chemical-like and less like chlorine.† At this point I called PUD again and this time they sent someone to test my water.† When I called later for the test results, I was told that the State laboratory had said that the water was fine.† Again I did nothing further.
†††††††††††††† By the end of August, I could not take the taste anymore and began using bottled water for cooking and drinking purposes.† So I called PUD for the third time complaining about my water.† Once again, I was told that the water was free of any bacteria and the state said it was all right.† I replied that the water may be free of whatever they were testing for, but if they believed it was all right, then they should come up and have a drink.† I was told it would require another test.† I donít know if it was ever tested again.† I did know that I could not accept PUDís assessment of the water.
†††††††††††††† Since my wife said that she could not notice anything wrong with the water, I decided to ask some of my neighbors if they noticed anything strange with the water.† The first person I talked to said he could not notice anything strange but that his wife refused to even bathe in the water from PUD.
†††††††††††††† At that point I contacted a private laboratory and was told that it could cost me thousands of dollars to have the water tested, so I turned to the State of Rhode Island.† I went to the Department of Health and requested a test of my tap water.† What did I want it tested for I was asked.† I responded that if I knew what I wanted it tested for, I wouldnít have to have it tested would I.† The clerk handed me a yellow price list showing what it cost for whatever test I wanted.† I had no clue as to what I needed.† The clerk, noticing my dismay, referred me to a rack of pamphlets nearby and told me to see if there was anything there that I might recognize as being the problem.† When I read through a number of these pamphlets the only thing that jumped out to me was the MTBE description.† It said MTBE was an octane enhancer added to gasoline.† My last recollection of the odor was that it smelled a little like the odor you get when riding behind some small pickup trucks, so I told the clerk I wanted the basic test ($79.00) and the test for MTBE ($115.00).† He then called a chemist from the laboratory and she came down and handed me the materials that I would need to return to the lab to test my water.† However, she said, I would have to wait for her call since the tests were time-critical and since her computer was down.† This was on a Monday or a Tuesday.† She called on Thursday and told me to take my water samples and bring them down.† I did.† She told me I would hear within a few weeks of the result.† I left.† Before that afternoon was out, she called and advised me not to drink the water; nor bathe in it unless I had adequate ventilation in the shower.† She also advised me that the PUD would be notified and that a further testing would be required.† On Friday the further tests were taken and PUD was supposed to notify its customers by Saturday that they should not use the water for drinking or cooking.† I only found out that the water was unsafe (officially) because my wife happened to see a sign in a store window.† The MTBE problem existed for another four and one-half months.† I was reimbursed for my expense.
In summary of this section, I believe the problem arose due to:
Problem Addressed/Not Addressed:
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