For Immediate Release
Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467;
drakestraw (at) fwwatch.org
DOJ’s Action Against United Water Shows Dangers of Private Water Operation
Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
WASHINGTON - “We applaud the Department of Justice (DOJ) for pursuing criminal
charges against United Water and two of its employees for allegedly
tampering with E. coli monitoring at its Gary, Ind. wastewater facility,
which reduced the amount of treatment chemicals used. The DOJ believes
this is a violation of the Clean Water Act.
“This indictment shows why our water services should be publicly
owned. Private water operators are often based hundreds of miles away
from the municipalities they serve. Their first priority is
shareholders, not communities. Private operators are known for trimming
costs in operation, as well as cutting jobs and raising rates in
communities they enter.
“Ravaged by the recent economic recession, more municipalities are
considering selling or leasing their water systems to help balance their
budgets. As of October 2010, at least 39 communities in the U.S. were
considering selling or leasing their water systems to private
operators—more than five times the number of completed privatization
deals in a typical year over the last two decades.
“In order to allow cities to retain control over their water systems,
the funding gap for water infrastructure—now $22 billion a year—needs
to be reversed. Congress should prioritize dedicated funding to repair
our aging systems so that public leaders aren’t tempted to turn over
water operations to private companies.”
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