The Environmental Protection Agency is doing a routine inspection to make sure Worcester’s water system isn’t poisoning anyone. Does Worcester Mag’s Walter Bird, Jr. report on whether this will potentially keep people and the fish we eat healthy – maybe even save lives? No – he reports on how Worcester Public Works and Parks Commissioner Robert Moylan, Jr. thinks it’s all a huge hassle:
Public Works and Parks Commissioner is not relishing a visit to the city Tuesday, Jan. 22 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), saying inspectors likely will be looking for “faults” in the operation and maintenance of Worcester sanitary sewer collection system. That is the conclusion he reached after talking to colleagues in Portland, New Bedford and Holyoke, where the EPA conducted similar inspections. Visits were also made to Andover and Lawrence.
“I have contacted my colleagues in Portland, Maine; New Bedford; and Holyoke who are responsible for the sanitary sewer system in their community,” Moylan says in a Jan. 16 memo to City Manager Mike O’Brien. “Each of them is a seasoned veteran with extensive experience. Each stated unequivocally that the inspection was aimed at finding fault; this was not an inspection to assist, advise or to be helpful. The EPA team was not interested in what the community was doing right, they were only interested in finding what they believed to be failings and stated the same.”
Look, I don’t doubt the EPA’s wastewater system oversight is terribly boring and very complex – but it’s also incredibly important. It focuses on “failings” because that’s a sign people are getting sick or ecosystems are being polluted. Have Worcester’s public officials and journalists forgotten that protecting public health is more important than a little extra work for Robert Moylan, Jr.?