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Ask The Mayor: First Show With Bloomington's John Hamilton

Bloomington's drinking water is safe, there's enough salt for eight big snowfalls and specifics on the development of the city's tech park could be defined within the next couple of months.

On this week's installment of Ask The Mayor, Mayor John Hamilton addresses these issues and more. Listen to the full conversation with Indiana Newsdesk anchor Joe Hren by clicking on the play button above, or read some of the questions and answers below.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

Hren: Welcome to your first 'Ask The Mayor' show, you've been mayor for three weeks, what has it been like for you and your family?

Hamilton: Thank you, it's very nice to be on the show. It's been really exciting. One of my commitments is to throw the doors open to city hall. That's meant doing more things in city hall and me getting out to see a lot of employees. There's 650 employees who work hard every day and getting to meet them and talk to them and a lot of what you do starting out is doing a lot of listening. You do sense how proud people are who work for the city of Bloomington, how proud they are of the city.

Hren: How about a quick update on the city snow plows and salt supply as another winter weather event is upon us?

Hamilton: As a mayor, you want to be sure your first snow is handled well and that happened about a week ago. I took a couple dozen donuts to the snow plow drivers early Sunday morning. When I walked in the facility there was nobody there, around 6:30 in the morning. I was a little nervous and I looked on the desk and there were about 19 beepers lined up and those were the beepers that all the workers had with them over the weekend and got called in, brought their beepers and that meant they were in and on the job.

We had a couple plows that couldn't work that day, so I'm a little concerned about making sure we get that equipment maintained, but I'm told we have enough salt for 8 or 10 snows. We have crews that know what they're doing and I'm proud of the work they do.

Hren: We have a question from Don, he writes, "The city's water quality coordinator was cited as suggesting that until the problem is resolved the affected customers should use bottled water or install water filters, but since the CBU treatments are causing the contamination it seems to me that the city should provide that. Citizens are already paying bills for contaminated water that evidently is unsafe to drink. I live in Benton Township where the problem is more acute.” How would you respond to his request?

Hamilton: If I drink the water at my house, the expectation is we provide safe water. The water that is coming out of the CBU taps is in compliance with all the health standards that are put in place by the EPA and the Department of Environmental Management. The one whole-sale customer primarily because it's so far away from the treatment plant these byproducts can grow over a period of time. Even the exceedence is of a chronic exposure set by health standards over a fifty year exposure.

But, there is some science that's not been excepted by the Environmental Protection Agency that shorter term exposure by some populations of at risk people could be an issue. My job is to make sure you know about those levels and you can make that decision yourself. We're complying with all the regulatory requirements.

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