Hull never notified about Cohasset’s E-coli outbreak

An e-mail from Kathy Morgan of Hull this morning….

“E-coli has been found in Cohasset water. Why didn’t Hull residents get phone notification? I was very upset to hear on the news at 5:50 AM this morning that E. Coli has been found in Cohasset water. Since we receive “blended” water, I want to know why no phone notification was sent out by Aquarion.”

Will the Real Town Manager Stand Up!??

According to our former town manager, Mike Coughlin, American Water tests for E. Coli all the time. They don’t need to have the state run any tests to know it’s there.

Coughlin said the press release from the water commissioners indicated they were notified of the E. Coli on Saturday May 12th. But samples were collected on May 8th and according to Coughlin, American Water tests for E. Coli in-house.

“To get the word out– they could have made a public service announcement at (Cohasset’s ) Town Meeting on Saturday, but of course that would have put the Water Commission in a bad light and would have reinforced the citizens’ petition argument that professional oversight of our contract operations of both water and sewer is needed.”
“I know I feel strongly about water but when I was Town Manager in Southbridge–  our DPW director reamed out the operator of the water system for trying to downplay when e-coli was found in the system, Coughlin said.

Coughlin added: “I hope someone asks why this was not disclosed on Saturday.   According to Joe Campbell– he was preparing to serve 1,300 at Atlantica on Mother’s Day – it would have been nice if the safety precautions like throwing out ice– would have been known immediately.”

How convenient that water bid contracts will be opened after the Mariner goes to print, how convenient that Peter (chairman of the water commission)  claimed that he would not be involved in the selection but now he is on the agenda to brief the selectmen on bids.”

Did water commissioners know of this much earlier and not warn the town (24 hour notice required for E. coli outbreaks) because of sensitive water articles before town meeting? And what did the selectmen and the acting town manager know, and when did they know it and do they know anything?


© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed

  11 comments for “Hull never notified about Cohasset’s E-coli outbreak

  1. Mike Coughlin
    May 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Forgot to mention how Capital Budget and Peter treated both Mark Brennan, Tom Gruber and John Cavanaro on Meeting House Pond– like you said to Tanna– maybe Peter should talk to those involved with the project at its inception– Community Preservation– to name one before Capital Budget and Peter go off half cocked— firearms safety lessons were to be taught at the police station at night– oh you guys are closing it

  2. Mike Coughlin
    May 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm


    In law school they teach you to trust but verify but just like the approach to the concession agreement you seem more interested in blindly trusting Peter Dicaprio rather than verifying the facts.

    Steve– you are a pitbull when Mark Brennan, Mark Deluca and Bob Silvia come before Capital Budget– but you don’t show that same dedication when it come to Peter– how sad– maybe because he is a member of Capital Budget– not an actionable conflict but still a poor practice

    Like I said above– emergencies — including those involving public safety– come at any time– any day. DEP works on the weekend and there are means of putting leverage on that agency– Ted Carr’s contacts- Rep Garrett Bradley and Sen Bob Hedlund– even Secretary of Veterans Affairs Coleman Nee.

    Some say American Water failed to notify the commissioners in timely fashion– if this is the case I could withdraw some of my unanswered questions–

    If it is true that American Water sat on the issue– then this is just as serious– it underscores the need to have a municipally employed public works professional oversee Water and Sewer– like the article proposed by Karen Quigley last Saturday.

    Trust but verify– maybe some still trust the Water Commission but to maintain the little trust the public has — we need to verify what happened with respect to the E-coli

    Perhaps Capital Budget is the proper forum to publicly look into the matter– your committee seemed to enjoy putting the Sewer Commission through its passes concerning paving costs– last week I heard it gave Mark Deluca a working over on the tidal gates and of course there is always the issue with the need to keep the police station open, the establishment of the K-9 issue and a logical vehicle maintenance program.

    Seems to be a double standard– let Peter off the hook and stick it to everyone else.

    I know you will be busy at your civilian job dealing with Dodd Frank in light of the recent $2b lose by JP Chase Morgan– but you in the private sector who always get it right– can find the time to get to the bottom of this.

  3. steve gaumer
    May 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Your words:

    “. . .I have VERY GOOD reason to believe Cohasset’s Elms Meadow Well was on-line and very much circulating in the system until it was closed down on May 8th when E. coli was found.” -Tanna K.

    What FACTS back up your assertions? If you have spoken to “enough people”, then share your sources ad their expertise.

    As to your assertion:

    “There are rules about informing the public and this was not done.”

    You are wrong, and if you would simply check your facts before your keyboard, it would help retain any remaining credibility for you.

    If you are still wondering about reporting protocol, as you seem to be, read The Mariner. They seem to have no problem finding (and printing) them.

  4. May 16, 2012 at 11:39 am

    There are rules about informing the public and this was not done.
    Were citizens ever in danger? Probably not.
    But citizens have the right to know that there may be a danger.
    The state thinks so, too.

    There are many questions here.
    When did the water commission know there might be a problem? Did they first hear about it at midnight on May 19th?

    What is the reporting policy. When does the public have a right to know that E. coli was found and maybe they should throw out their ice cubes. Certainly not 8 days after the event.

    I have spoken to enough people to know that Elms Meadow Well was closed down on May 8th., which must mean it was open before that.
    This whole issue is something selectmen, the board of health and others with authority should take a look at.

    My parents lived within 50 miles of Three Mile Island in Harrisburg when it went on the blink. It was all over the national news but the people of the area were not informed. To save them from panicking, I suppose.

    In the future, inform me. Let me decide what to do – boil my water, throw out my ice cubes, whatever.

  5. steve gaumer
    May 16, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Of course, Tanna, you will enumerate your “belief” with facts?

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