The Sandy City Council has voted to move forward and begin accepting bids from third-party groups to investigate last month’s contaminated water issues, but not before narrowing down the scope of the review.
The city has met a swirl of controversy starting in mid-February when the Department of Environmental Quality found high levels of fluoride in one area’s water system and last week, when a meeting transcended into a heated discussion over communication breakdowns between the mayor’s office and the council.
The council had pledged to conduct a thorough investigation into what went wrong with the water as the state does the same. Council members on Tuesday approved the request for proposals (RFP) after narrowing its focus.
Councilwoman Brook Christensen proposed the modified version of the RFP suggesting they push back investigations into the more technical aspects, and focus more on how the city responded to the crisis.
Instead of looking at technical issues about how the contamination occured, what happened and where the malfunction took place, Christensen said they should focus on the city’s efforts to communicate the problems to the public and other departments, on emergency management’s response and on the effectiveness of city emergency protocols.
Councilman Zach Robinson was the only council member to vote against Christensen’s motion.
“I’m quite hesitant to remove these things from the RFP that we’ve already agreed on,” he said. “Mainly because we just got this six minutes ago and as I’m glancing through this there’s a couple of points that stand out to me that we need to include ... so we are covered here.”
Christensen said the items being removed weren’t part of the original plan but were added to address residents’ concerns.
Robinson responded that that made him even more reluctant to modify the proposal, especially if the council is removing the items pitched by Sandy residents.
“I still feel like we can not over-investigate this enough,” he emphasized.
Christensen clarified that she was suggesting only that the additional items be placed on hold until the state completes its investigation. The city then could move forward with its own review on those issues.