Veolia Water Indianapolis under investigation - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Veolia Water Indianapolis under investigation

Roger Harvey/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis, October 3 - There are rising concerns about the safety of the Indianapolis' water supply. The city of Indianapolis is investigating complaints about Veolia Water, the company the city hired to manage the water supply.

The city and state are taking action after numerous complaints about Central Indiana's water company.  The U.S. Attorney's office said Monday afternoon the state's Environmental Crimes Task Force is conducting the investigation into the operation of Indianapolis' water system.

Four management level employees received subpoenas from the US attorney's office late Friday.
In addition, Indiana's Department of Environmental Management took water samples from 19 Marion County locations over the weekend.
 
The results of those water quality tests should be completed by Friday.

In the past three months critics raised concerns about how Veolia Water runs the city's water company.

Mayor Bart Peterson said Monday his office received assurances that the water quality in Indianapolis is safe for customers. "We are very focused on making sure there are no issues. If there are, then Veolia will have to deal with them and there will be issues that arise from them. But so far this is an investigation to get information and we want to see what the information says."

Veolia water officials cancelled a news conference Monday afternoon. They said in a statement the public should be confident in the water supply. 

Te statement says, "Veolia Water Indianapolis LLC (VWI) received a subpoena from the United States Attorney. We are fully cooperating and providing requested information. Public trust is important to us - the public should have every confidence in its drinking water. Providing our customers with a safe and constant water supply is our number one priority and always has been.

"Since VWI began operating the Indianapolis waterworks system in May 2002, we have continually met or exceeded state and federal water quality standards. VWI’s facilities are fully operational and we have every confidence that the water we are providing to Indianapolis Water customers is safe."

A Veolia water spokeswoman would not identify the four employees subpoenaed saying only that they are at the management level. However, sources say the four workers are employed in the areas of water quality and purification.

The subpoenas come less than three months after City-County councilman Jim Bradford and a citizens group accused Veolia management of ultimately endangering the water supplied to one million people.

Clarke Kahlo of the Citizens Water Coalition said, "We believe there are continuing and substantial irregularities in the operation of waterworks and that these are routinely being concealed and suppressed by the company."

Veolia executives, at the time, responded that quality controls exceed certified industry standards and they've invested millions to upgrade equipment. "The suggestion that we're on the edge of a problem in terms of water quality is nonsense," said Veloia President, Tim Hewitt.

Veolia has a $1.8 billion contract to manage the city-owned utility.

Investigators will determine whether the contract is managed correctly. 

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