Drinking water systems in Missouri fail to complete routine testing

April 23, 2009
Thirty-four drinking water systems in Missouri have chronically failed to complete required drinking water testing...

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, Apr. 23, 2009 -- Thirty-four drinking water systems in Missouri have chronically failed to complete required drinking water testing. The systems listed have at least three major monitoring violations in a twelve-month period. While failing to monitor does not necessarily mean the water is unsafe, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources conducts routine testing in an effort to protect Missouri's citizens.

The Department requires all public water systems to test for bacteria at least once a month to verify these systems are providing safe drinking water to the public. The vast majority of community and non-community public water systems in Missouri comply with all monitoring requirements and meets all drinking water standards. Chronic violators are the exception rather than the rule. This current list of 34 systems represents only 1.2 percent of the approximately 2,800 public drinking water systems in Missouri. Based on population served by public water systems in the state, only 0.092 percent drink water at one of these systems with chronic monitoring violators.

Bacteriological testing can be the first step in identifying and correcting a problem. The next step is to investigate the cause of any bad samples and perform corrective action, such as disinfecting and flushing the system. When a public water system has a record of both failing to monitor and a history of exceeding contaminant levels, this may raise concerns about the unknown quality of the drinking water.

If a water sample tests positive for total coliform bacteria, further testing is then performed for fecal coliform or E. coli bacteria, which can directly cause gastrointestinal illness. Most samples that test positive for total coliform, test negative for fecal coliform or E. coli. The total coliform-positive samples that are listed tested negative for fecal coliform or E. coli, unless specifically stated otherwise.

>> Click here for a complete list of the violators
>> View more details on the violators

These systems' owners have been sent multiple violation notices in addition to certified letters informing them that chronic failure to monitor is unacceptable. Representatives of the Department of Natural Resources also routinely make on-site inspections and attempt to reach an agreement with the responsible parties to ensure sampling requirements will be met. If these parties continue to fail to comply with Missouri's drinking water law, the Department pursues more stringent enforcement action through legal channels.