ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Hundreds of residents in St. Charles showed up to a meeting Thursday with the Environmental Protection Agency about their water contamination concerns. Since the last EPA meeting in November, the city has shut down two more water wells, leaving just one operational.
“EPA did not nor would we recommend the city shut down the wells with the levels of contamination that we have seen recently,” said Ben Washburn with the EPA. “Because the health-based standards are designed to protect the most vulnerable populations.”
The contamination standard is what concerns a lot of residents.
“We have what are called maximum contaminate levels, and these are health-based standards that, if the contaminates rise above these levels,” Washburn said. “We can take immediate action to address that. The levels that we’re seeing are well below these standards right now.”
“That’s the allowable level of contamination. But what is that for a baby, what is that for cooking or this or that,” said St. Charles Mayor Dan Borgmeyer. “Plus, if we take all of our contaminated wells and reintroduce them. Then what is the composite damage from all of those contaminates being together.”
He said this battle has been ongoing for a year and a half.
“We’ve never had any contact with Ameren. We’re not getting much help out of them,” Borgmeyer said. “They’re slow rolling.”
The EPA said they do not have a timeline for Ameren to conduct the focus testing or to install a barrier, but the EPA said it is a high priority.
“They’ve even said take the contaminated water, add good water, so you’ll lower the density of the contaminate,” Borgmeyer said. “That’s insane. I’m not going to have my people drink contaminated water while they’re figuring it out. So we’ve taken action. We’ve acquired equipment to connect to our plan. That equipment will take the contamination level down to almost zero. So our water will be as good as it ever was, but it’s very expensive to operate.”
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