ABC 17 News Investigates: Your Water

ABC 17 News Investigates: Your Water

COLUMBIA, Mo. - It's been nearly four years since the Flint water crisis happened in Michigan. Since then, clean water concerns have swept across the nation, including concerns here in Missouri. 

ABC 17 News Investigates how safe Mid-Missouri drinking water is and found issues in nine counties.

According to data from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, in the past five years, Missouri had anywhere from 18 to 23 public water system violations, from fecal coliform to E. coli. In comparison to the nearly 2,700 water systems in the state, the violations totaled less than 1 percent. 

In Mid-Missouri, nine counties had a total of 30 violations ranging from E. coli to having high disinfectant in water.

"When you add chlorine to water, if there is organic there, it can create these disinfection byproducts, and it's one of the things in Missouri we struggle with compliance-wise," Todd Eichholz with the Department of Natural Resources, said. 

According to the 2016 water quality report for the city of Columbia, the city had no violation and all contaminants stayed under the maximum levels allowed. However, it hasn't always been that way. In 2008, the city had several violations that resulted in high levels of TTHM, which could have serious health risks. 

Since then, city officials said they continue to monitor water chemicals several times a day. One of the ways Missouri treats its water is to use chlorine. 

Eichholz said, "Chlorine is one thing that protects public health more than any other thing when it comes to human fatalities and human disease based on water-borne pathogens."

Chlorine isn't the only possible contaminant in your drinking water. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources monitors 91 different contaminants that could be there. Some of those include fluoride, mercury, nitrates and radium. 

Utilities across Missouri are required to treat their water to meet state and federal standards. The city of Marshall is having to dip into its reserves for a $5 million project to get back into compliance with the law. 

The department says one of the biggest issues with cities complying with the law comes down to having enough money to upgrade their current systems, especially in smaller rural communities. 

To check how Missouri did year to year, you can click here

To check how your city did, you can click here

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