B-137320, OCT 27, 1958

B-137320: Oct 27, 1958

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IT IS STATED THAT IT HAS BEEN REPORTED THAT THE AVAILABLE DRINKING WATER IS NOT POTABLE. IN SUPPORT OF SUCH CONTENTION THERE WAS ENCLOSED WITH THE LETTER. BASED ON THE CHEMICAL ANALYSIS WHICH STATES THAT THE WATER IS POLLUTED. THE PURCHASE OF DRINKING WATER IS ORDINARILY A PERSONAL MATTER AND MAY BE REGARDED AS A CHARGE AGAINST APPROPRIATED MONEYS ONLY UPON THE SHOWING OF NECESSITY FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE GOVERNMENT. IT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED AS A DUTY UPON THE GOVERNMENT TO SUPPLY DRINKING WATER WHERE NONE IS AVAILABLE IN THE OFFICES OR OTHER PUBLIC QUARTERS. OR WHERE THAT FURNISHED IS UNWHOLESOME OR NOT POTABLE. 2 COMP. IN SUCH INSTANCES WHERE THERE IS NO OTHER WATER. AVAILABLE WITHIN A REASONABLE DISTANCE WHICH COULD BE PIPED TO THE GOVERNMENT INSTALLATION CONCERNED IT MAY BE REGARDED AS ESTABLISHED THAT DRINKING WATER IS NOT AVAILABLE AT THE INSTALLATION FROM ANY SOURCE OTHER THAN THROUGH THE PURCHASE OF BOTTLED WATER.

B-137320, OCT 27, 1958

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

MR. SECRETARY:

LETTER OF AUGUST 28, 1958, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, REQUESTS OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER BOTTLED DRINKING WATER MAY BE PURCHASED FOR THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEES OF THE FARM PLACEMENT SERVICE, BUREAU OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, HIDALGO, TEXAS. IT IS STATED THAT IT HAS BEEN REPORTED THAT THE AVAILABLE DRINKING WATER IS NOT POTABLE, AND IN SUPPORT OF SUCH CONTENTION THERE WAS ENCLOSED WITH THE LETTER, A COPY OF A RECENT CHEMICAL ANALYSIS OF THE LOCAL WATER SUPPLY AND A COPY OF A MEMORANDUM PREPARED BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, BASED ON THE CHEMICAL ANALYSIS WHICH STATES THAT THE WATER IS POLLUTED.

THE PURCHASE OF DRINKING WATER IS ORDINARILY A PERSONAL MATTER AND MAY BE REGARDED AS A CHARGE AGAINST APPROPRIATED MONEYS ONLY UPON THE SHOWING OF NECESSITY FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE GOVERNMENT. HOWEVER, IT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED AS A DUTY UPON THE GOVERNMENT TO SUPPLY DRINKING WATER WHERE NONE IS AVAILABLE IN THE OFFICES OR OTHER PUBLIC QUARTERS, OR WHERE THAT FURNISHED IS UNWHOLESOME OR NOT POTABLE. 2 COMP. GEN. 776; B-109162, APRIL 30, 1952; AND B-118101, JANUARY 5, 1954. IN SUCH INSTANCES WHERE THERE IS NO OTHER WATER, PROVIDED FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION, AVAILABLE WITHIN A REASONABLE DISTANCE WHICH COULD BE PIPED TO THE GOVERNMENT INSTALLATION CONCERNED IT MAY BE REGARDED AS ESTABLISHED THAT DRINKING WATER IS NOT AVAILABLE AT THE INSTALLATION FROM ANY SOURCE OTHER THAN THROUGH THE PURCHASE OF BOTTLED WATER.

IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AS RELATED IN THE LETTER OF AUGUST 28, 1958, OUR OFFICE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO THE PROCURING OF BOTTLED DRINKING WATER, UNDER CONTRACT, FOR THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEES OF THE FARM PLACEMENT SERVICE AT THE HIDALGO RECEPTION CENTER.