New law proposed after water advisory notification process

By Alana Cerrone

acerrone@abc6.com

After a 4-day boil water advisory has been lifted, plans for a new automated phone alert system are proposed.

When the Kent County Water Authority announced a boil water advisory for 80,000 residents on Sunday, concerns were raised about the customer notification process.

Senator Paul Fogarty says, “Water problems can be very serious emergencies that require immediate notification to customers.” The technology needed to make automated phone alerts to affected customers is easily available and not too expensive.

Senator Fogarty's district includes the part of Pascoag that, back in 2001, was contaminated by Methyl tertiary-butyl ether from a leaky underground gas tank. The Pascoag Utility District went door-to-door to notify residents. Now, the Utility District is very active online and also uses automated phone calls to alert residents of emergency situations.

Senator Fogarty says he wants all of Rhode Island's water utilities to have a similar system, since they have a unique responsibility.

“When they have a problem, it is absolutely vital to public health that they have a way to get the word out to the people they serve right away,” says Senator Fogarty.

Senator Fogarty plans to introduce this legislation in the next session.

© WLNE-TV 2013