Sandy utilities director placed on leave following water debacle

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SANDY — Sandy Public Utilities Director Tom Ward has been placed on administrative leave following a debacle over lead and copper contaminating the city’s water supply earlier this month, he announced in a brief Wednesday press conference.

Ward said he will be stepping away while an independent investigation into the city's water situation is conducted.

"I am confident that my staff and I have restored public health and the drinking water in Sandy is safe," Ward said in a prepared statement Wednesday. "To restore public confidence, however, in the water supply, I support bringing in an independent investigator to conduct a full analysis of recent incidents."

As of Wednesday, only one Sandy household remained affected by poor water quality, and that household had already been notified, city officials said on Twitter.

He said distractions from the media were hampering his ability to effectively direct the public utilities department. Ward added that he has the "utmost trust" in city staff and Sandy Mayor Kurt Bradburn.

"The city staff will continue to provide excellent service to city residents," Ward said.

The state cited Sandy City for failing to adequately notify the public about potential water contamination after test results were delayed following a Feb. 5 incident where an increased amount of fluoride was released into the city’s water system.

The fluoride stripped some utility piping, releasing lead and copper into the water supply and affecting some 600 households, state officials said.

Bradburn said he supported Ward's decision to step away from his position. Ward will be placed on leave “until we get a better understanding of exactly what happened,” Bradburn said.

"My commitment to all of our residents, as it has been from the beginning, is to take whatever steps necessary to ensure that we regain their trust and confidence moving forward," Bradburn said.

The pair did not take any questions following the press conference.

About 1,100 water test results came back Wednesday, officials said. Test results will be posted on a city website so that homeowners can see results for their specific home, Sandy officials said.

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