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Four years after Hamilton-Wentworth privatized control of its water system, a CUPE report shows the scheme has been a dismal failure.

Commissioned by four municipal locals, CUPE 5, 167, 1006 and 1220, the study details problems that have arisen since a subsidiary of Philip Services began to manage the region’s water treatment plants. The report documents a trail of broken promises, eventually leading to the biggest spill in history of raw sewage into Lake Ontario.

In Hamilton to release the report, National President Judy Darcy said “this report proves conclusively that Philip has not lived up to any of the commitments it made in 1995.” Citing quality, environmental, staffing, financial and reporting problems, Darcy said “it leaves local authorities with only one choice. End the contract with Philip.”

The report’s release caused quite a stir locally. The Hamilton Spectator gave it front-page coverage, followed by full-page stories four days running. By mid-week, an editorial claimed “The Jury is out on privatized water.”

The four CUPE locals intend to keep up their lobby to reverse this privatization deal and prevent others.