The Bowie City Council unanimously passed Mayor Pro Tem Adrian Boafo’s water rebate initiative on Monday. The rebate will be provided to Bowie water customers that present evidence of paid invoices for water filter installations.
A one-time $50 maximum rebate will be given. The rebate program will be funded from the water/sewer reserve for contingencies funds.
Due to the condition of water mains in the City’s water utility, some water customers experience periodic incidents of discolored water in their homes. The discoloration comes from small iron particles that sometimes become suspended in the otherwise clean water due to occurrences of turbulence in the water mains, according to documents.
“While we work with Members of Congress and other stakeholders on a long-term solution, it’s my hope that our new water rebate program will provide temporary relief for residents,” Boafo said in a statement.
The problem is explained on the City’s website and is being addressed through a long-term capital program to replace or line the water mains.
The Public Works Department didn’t not recommend that the city specify a particular filter to residents since this filter would be installed within the privately owned plumbing inside the home and privately maintained.
With a few small exceptions, the water distribution system was constructed between 1960 and 1970, entirely of cast iron piping. The majority of the cast iron piping is unlined and subject to corrosion that results in tuberculation.
This corrosion severely impacts the distribution system, negatively impacting flow capacity and resulting in frequent incidents of poor water quality, according to the city documents. Based on investigations conducted, the city estimates that 50 miles of the total 90 miles of water mains are affected by tuberculation. Alternatives for correcting the problem were evaluated but it was determined that piping should be replaced.
Also, during the meeting Alfred Lott, City Manager has asked Bowie employees to get vaccinated and provide a copy of their vaccine verification card to the Human Resources Office. At this time, just over 60% of its employees have done so.
“With only four employees reporting that they received their first vaccination in the month of May. Bowie has a way to go, and it appears that general interest in getting vaccinated is waning,” Lott said in a statement.
In an effort to reinvigorate employee interest in receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations, Lott is offering a financial incentive of $100 to each vaccinated employee. Employees will be eligible for the incentive upon receipt of a copy of their vaccination verification card to the Human Resources Office by Aug. 9.
This will cost approximately $47,500 from the City Manager’s contingency budget for the approximately 475 employees. Most of the funds will come from the available FY2021 budget and the remainder will be charged to FY2022.
The vote passed 6-1 with Roxy Ndebumadu, District 4 Councilmember voting no.