The Herald, Sharon, PA Published Thursday, March 23, 2000


Council irked by report’s publicity

By Felicia A. Petro
Allied News Staff Writer

Grove City council members frowned Monday over a March 15 story in The Herald, saying it could have led readers to think that the borough’s water quality was poor.

The story concerned Clean Water Action, a public advocacy group, giving grades from A to F on reports written by Pennsylvania municipalities and private companies concerning quality of water systems.

Grove City received an F, not for the quality of its water, but for its technical writing abilities in a pamphlet the borough wrote and mailed to residents, Borough Manager Terence Farren said.

“People read this and think: ‘We got an F on water,’ ” he said. “Ironically, I got a pamphlet two days later by someone who says ‘Let us do your report,’ ” he said, of a company which would charge “big bucks” to write a pamphlet about the borough water system.

“Water reports get poor grades,” read The Herald headline. A sub-headline read, “Water quality has no bearing on grades.”

As were other water system managers, Farren was quoted in the story saying the report had to be “a mistake.”

The story also quoted Farren saying that the borough’s report had met with state Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Rural Water Association approval. Clean Water Action criticized Grove City for sending out too few pamphlets and having incomplete information.

Farren said more than 3,000 copies were sent to residents and copies were left at the borough building and Grove City Chamber of Commerce office.

The borough used the DEP- and Environmental Protection Agency-approved Pennsylvania Rural Water Association template to write the report, Farren added.

“I don’t know who this group is,” Farren said, adding that The Herald was too quick to give front-page publicity to Clean Water Action.

“This is the most I’ve heard on something for a while (from residents),” said Councilman Bill Limberg. Farren said he got two calls about the story.

The American Water Works Association, to which Grove City belongs, said approval from consumers “not special interest groups,” concerning report writing is its primary goal,” Farren said. Clean Water Action judged 88 water reports. Slippery Rock scored a B, Stoneboro received a D and Sandy Lake, a C.

Councilwoman Lois Foust tested the readability of Grove City’s pamphlet herself, perusing it while other members talked.

Finally, she said, “It’s a fine brochure. I give it an ‘A.’ ”

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