Podcast: Water Wise with George Hawkins, DC Water

Listen: iTunes

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Connect: Blog, LinkedIn, and Twitter

ELGL co-founder Kent Wyatt interviews George about:

  • How the Cleveland native handled the Indians loss to the Cubs in the World Series,
  • His celebrity look-alike,
  • The Mt. Rushmore of public utilities,
  • What you won’t find on his LinkedIn profile,
  • Why Gabe Klein is jealous of George’s dance moves,
  • How DC Water rebounded from a lead crisis worse than Flint, MI,
  • Balancing the need for water infrastructure vs. fair water rates,
  • Attainable goals for the Chesapeake Bay clean up,
  • The role of branding in the turnaround of DC Water, and
  • How a Princeton law degree leads to a public sector career.

The 4-1-1 on George

George Hawkins serves as Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). He served as Director of the District Department of the Environment from 2007 to 2009. Prior to that, he was Executive Director of New Jersey Future, a non-profit economic development organization, from 2004 to 2007. He served as Executive Director of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association from 1997 to 2004. George worked at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1992 to 1997 and in 1997 served as the EPA representative to the National Performance Review. He previously worked as an environmental lawyer in private practice from 1988 to 1992. Mr. Hawkins is a member of the Board of Trustees for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. George received an A.B. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.



Supplemental Reading

  • Chris Turner

    On May 24, 2004 The Washington Post Reported:

    WASA Studying Meters For Lead, By David Nakamura
    Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, May 24, 2004; Page A01

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50459-2004May23.html

    “… Water utilities in California and other jurisdictions,
    concerned about lead, have begun using a new kind of meter that many
    believe is safer than that used by WASA.

    “Unfortunately, D.C. did a major change-out right before the
    issue came out and [lower-lead meters] were available,” said Richard
    Maas, a University of North Carolina-Asheville professor whose studies
    on such meters show that they can leach lead.

    D.C. Council member Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4) said WASA may
    have been too eager to replace water meters in order to increase revenue
    and did not take proper precautions.

    “My hope is that WASA quickly adopts a zero-tolerance policy
    for lead in the water,” Fenty said. “WASA wanted the new meters to
    increase revenue, and it has. But lead in the water seems to be a new
    concept to WASA.” …”

  • Chris Turner

    DC Water argues that we should “Drink Tap” but what if that water has passed through a lead leaching meter and/or a lead leaching service line?

    Does the addition of Zinc ortho phospahate and/or other additives by the Army Corps of Engineers get rid of all of the lead? What if you have an infant in the house or a child? Should they be drinking the water?

    Should DC Water notify each customer with a lead service line on their bill each month that according to DC Water’s Records the customer’s house/building/office/store/restaurant has a lead service line?

    Remediating lead pipes should be your concern, August 05, 2016

    https://www.petworthnews.org/blog/lead-water-remediation

    “… Earlier studies identified the Petworth neighborhood to have a high density of lead service lines, and
    DC Water’s new online maps (see example above) show this to be true. DC
    Water has created the first interactive online map (see the DC Water website)
    as a great start to helping their customers minimize their lead
    exposure. But, the online map displays a disclaimer that says: “DC Water
    does not guarantee the accuracy of these records and maps.” According to a recent news article,
    DC Water does not know the material used in 104,000 (of a total of
    125,930) service lines in the District. This is a good reason why you
    should have your water tested (and maybe even have your service lines
    checked), even if the map indicates your lines are not lead.

    However,
    you should be aware that a one-time test could be misleading because
    lead release is highly variable and can change from day to day, season
    to season, and minute to minute. A one-time test should not be used to
    determine if a home’s or building’s water is “safe” or “unsafe” in
    relation to lead. And even if your service line is not lead, there may
    be leaded solder or brass that could be leaching lead into your water.
    The best way to protect yourself is to take precautions, including using
    a filter that is specifically certified to remove lead…”