ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Have you ever wondered if the water we drink is safe? What goes into making it safe for us to bathe, brush our teeth, swim and play in? The answer lies within the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Water Supply System and their many checks on the drinking and wastewater.

That department is saying they are understaffed, underpaid and overworked, Attorney General Brian Frosh agrees. He wrote to Governor Larry Hogan last week, asking for help.

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“I’m here because I do not want Baltimore and the surrounding counties to be the next Flint, Michigan,” Antoinette Ryan-Johnson, with the City Union of Baltimore, said.

“Clean drinking water is every bit as important to public safety as law-enforcement is,” Jerry Smith, the President of the Maryland Professional Employee Council said.

Frosh sent a letter to the governor asking him to step in to boost staffing and funding for the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Water Supply Program. The request came after a contractor that the EPA worked with in 2019 said a quarter of the state’s systems are in violation of state and federal regulations.

“We can’t wait to protect our drinking water,” Frosh said. “We can’t wait to make sure our wastewater is not contaminating our rivers and streams and drinking water.”

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Many residents wonder if our drinking water is safe.

Bill Schonowski of Glen Burnie said he doesn’t take any chances. He drinks “nothing but bottled natural spring water, I don’t drink tap water at all.”

“I’m wondering whether I should be boiling it at this point, just because we don’t know and how long has this been going on,” said Heidi Marshall-Butler, a mother in Glen Burnie.

At this point, it’s easier just to get water delivered to her house. “Four of us and we are all water drinkers, so it beats lugging it out of the store so I just get it delivered to my door,” Marshall-Butler said.

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Frosh said the contractors wanted to see a plan in place to hire 55 more employees, and now he is asking the Governor’s office to make an investment plan to make this happen, as it was supposed to happen in October.

Rachael Cardin