Jump to main content.

Letter from EPA Regional Administrator Don Welsh to Jerry Johnson, Gen. Mgr., DC Water and Sewer Authority

1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-2029

March 16, 2004

Mr. Jerry N. Johnson
General Manager
District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority
5000 Overlook Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20032

Dear Mr. Johnson:

On March 11, 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advised Mr. Michael Marcotte the EPA received information that incorrect instructions were provided to the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) customers participating in WASA's lead sampling program. It is imperative that the public have confidence in the accuracy of the results obtained from these samples.

On the basis of preliminary information received to date, incorrect instructions were provided to an unknown number of persons receiving sampling kits as part of WASA's lead service line sampling program during this calendar year. These kits were provided to residences known or believed to have lead service lines, as well as to other individuals who requested kits. As a result of these incorrect instructions, the sampling results obtained using these instructions may be inaccurate and unreliable.

It is my understanding that WASA has corrected the sampling instructions to be provided with these kits. Please provide EPA a copy of the new sampling instructions and more precise information regarding when the incorrect instructions were distributed, and to whom, by Thursday, March 18, 2004.

EPA is very concerned about the impact of the incorrect instructions on the health and safety of the residents of the District of Columbia and the current efforts WASA is taking to address these concerns. EPA is requiring WASA to immediately notify each of the residences whose water was sampled using the incorrect instructions; provide them a new sampling kit with the correct instructions; and analyze the samples received using the correct procedures. Please confirm your commitment to perform these actions in writing to me no later than Thursday, March 18, 2004. Your letter should include a schedule for resident notification within 3 days, sampling kit delivery to the residences within 14 days and completion of sample analysis within 30 days of pickup of the sample.

I am also requiring that any changes in sampling protocols be made only after being reviewed by EPA.

If you have any questions, please contact me at (215) 814-2908 or by facsimile at
(215) 814-2901.

Sincerely yours,

Donald S. Welsh
Regional Administrator

cc: Robert Bobb, City Administrator and Deputy Mayor
District of Columbia


Local Navigation

Jump to main content.