Fredericktown city leaders respond to water concerns

FREDERICKTOWN, MO (KFVS) - After several people in Fredericktown reached out to Heartland News about their concerns over the quality of their water, we went in search of answers.

One viewer sent us a picture of their water bill that included a notice that said, "Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard for cryptosporidium."

So, what does that mean?

According to a release from the city, the public water system was cited for failure to meet Missouri Safe Drinking Water Regulations which requires the public to be notified of the violation.

That violation was not a water quality violation, but a rule violation, according to the city.

"It happens constantly," resident Bill Morgan said. "There's always something going on with the water and nothing ever gets done about it."

Morgan has lived in Fredericktown for the last 20 years.

"I have noticed that our water from the tap a lot of times have a real heavy chlorine smell and you can hardly drink it," he said.

Morgan said this has been going on for months now, but he wasn't ready for what appeared on his March bill.

Below the payment category, it warns residents that their water violated a drinking water standard for Crypotosporidium.

That means there is a parasite in their water that could cause intestine problems.

"In my mind, I think there should be a boil order," he said. "I really do, because it sound like it's not an emergency, but yet it is, because it state on here the elderly, compromised immune systems or infant. Well, that makes up more than half of the town."

Frederickstown's city administrator Doug Friend didn't want to speak on camera, but said the city has been working for years to fix the problem.

Department of Natural Resources requirement required them to install new equipment by last fall, but Friend said they didn't get the new equipment until last month.

That's why they put the notice on residents water bills.

Morgan said it's the last place he would've expected to find out about this problem.

"It says on here, 'please past the word around about this situation'," he said. "Well everyone should have received this information in the mail!"

The city has actually been working to correct the problem since 2011 when an engineering study recommended several improvements to the water treatment plant.

Here's a timeline provided by the city:

  • An engineering study by Horner & Shifrin, Inc. recommends construction of several improvements to the water treatment plant in July 2011
  • After evaluating the alternatives, the City selects several needed improvements to the water treatment process (including Ultra Violet Reactor equipment) and applies for financial assistance through the State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) in Nov. 2013.
  • DWSRF assigns its highest priority ranking to the City's loan application in Feb. 2014.
  • Voter's approve up to $3 million in DWSRF Bonds on Nov. 4, 2014 for construction of Water System Improvements.
  • After receiving a grant from MoDNR for engineering services, the final design is prepared by Horner & Shifrin Engineers in 2015.
  • MoDNR approves the final design in early 2016 and the City immediately advertises for bids due in April 2016.
  • MoDNR and DWSRF approves the bids and authorizes the DWSRF loan closing in Aug. 2016.
  • Construction contracts with provisions for completion of Ultra Violet equipment at earliest possible date is signed on Aug. 22, 2016 (It is obvious that the October 2016 compliance cannot be met).
  • Notice to proceed with construction was issued on Sept. 20, 2016.
  • Ultra Violet equipment was not released for manufacturing until Oct. 3, 2016.
  • Ultra Violet equipment is received and installed in early Feb. 2017.
  • Ultra Violet equipment is placed into operation Feb. 22, 2017.

The city contends that the necessary equipment is in operation and the city is now in compliance with the Long-Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule.

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