STATE LEGISLATURE BAGS BOTTLED WATER

If you’re at the legislative office building or the capitol early these days, you may hear drilling or construction-type noises. No, they are not adding onto the building to add more staff, they’re installing new water lines. It seems legislative management is getting rid of the bottled water stations in the two buildings and replacing them with filtered, tap-water stations.

Back in April, The Hanging Shad questioned the wisdom of the state legislature spending $100,000 for bottled water stations throughout the capitol and the LOB. The entry got The Shad in some hot water with my favorite Republican, former state Rep. Brian Flaherty. It seems in making the case for the state to save money and use tap water, I linked to a story about the bottled water v. tap water debate that, in Flaherty’s view, was misleading. Shad live in water but that doesn’t make them an expert on it.

In any event, one would think that if legislative management was actually going to pull the plug on the bottled water but were still concerned about clean tap water, they’d screw one of those filters on the tap and be done with it. Ah, not so fast.

Legislative management is instead drilling new lines for the incoming water, diverting it through a series of filters and then dispensed through the same water stations where the bottles use to be. The cost? $65 for materials and $75 for labor for each of the more than 65 water stations in the two buildings. That’s about $10,000 to you and me (and I mean literally to you and me—it’s taxpayers’ money). And that’s over and above the $100,000 contract with Poland Spring according to a legislative management official responding to a Freedom of Information request from The Hanging Shad (a request that was respond to in a very fast, timely and helpful manner).

So even in making what would seem to be a cost-measure the state is again costing us money.