People concerned about water in St Mary, MO

By Holly Brantley

ST. MARY, MO (KFVS) - Is it ever going to get any better? That's what residents in St. Mary want to know after a water main break last week caused yet another issue in a long line of problems with the city's water.

While some residents are furious, city leaders say the break was just a minor snag as they work towards a permanent solution.

"It was really gross," said Laurie Luttrell. "We couldn't take a bath, we couldn't drink it."

Luttrell says the tap ran like muddy water during the incident. "With three  kids it was horrible," said Luttrell. A boil water order was issued, and lifted and even on Tuesday, we watched as Laurie's water continued to run yellow. But, she says she's used to it.

"It's been like this for three years," said Luttrell.

That's why residents in St. Mary say they fear water woes will never wash away.

"We use a water softener, a filter, and a Brita just to drink it," said Luttrell. "For me and my children, it's just too much."

According to the Department of Natural Resources, old pipes with excessive iron and other elements cause the water to look unattractive, but they say it's still safe.

"Testing's been done on the water," said Jake Martin, City Clerk. "Even last week during the worst case scenario if you boiled it it's okay."

Martin asks residents to be patient as they try to resolve the problem for good. Ironically, we learned the water main break happened as they put in new pipes.

He says they are half way finished with the new system that includes a new tank and connects to St. Genevieve's water facilities. It was paid for by federal grant money.

"We're going to run into a few problems with so many pipes in the ground there they weren't really mapped out in the 70's. We're soon going to have a whole new system," said Martin.

Martin says he understands residents don't enjoy dealing with dirty looking water. But, he says in many parts of town it runs clear. City Hall is one of those places. Martin drank the water himself, right after he poured it from the tap.

"The greatest thing would be if people would work with us and call us if they have a problem," said Martin. "We are working to take care of this as soon as we can. It could be finished as early as September or by the end of the year.

According to Larry Archer with the Department of Natural Resources, the most recent testing showed no Ecoli and no health risks. He says the water is safe.

He did note one recent sample indicated the presence of non-threatening coliform bacteria and they will need St. Mary to do some extra sampling in addition to regular testing.

He says connecting to Ste. Genevieve's water should do the trick.  According to Archer that public system has not had issues like St. Mary.

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