Thursday, September 14, 2006

Regulation Without Context

From the New York Times: Water Monitor Falsified Reports.

What’s missing here is context. The guy could serve up to 5 years in prison for falsifying results, and I for one would like to know why he did it. From the story it’s obvious he falsified the results to cover his mistake of failing to take the appropriate turbidity readings in the first place.

My question is, why are these missing readings worth spending up to 5 years in prison for? Could it be that our drinking water laws- like many of the health and safety laws in this country are more concerned paperwork and deadlines than with public health?

As someone who has dealt with the Safe Drinking Water Act since 1998, I know from personal experience that monitoring and reporting violations can lead to significant fines for public water systems, whereas actual health violations do not incur any fines. What we have is a perverse system that encourages dishonesty by making paperwork more important than public health.


Post a Comment

<< Home