On Monday residents in Bonne Terre received a notice on their doors that the level of radionuclides are above the drinking water standards.
Bonne Terre City Administrator Jim Eaton said they have been aware of this issue and they have been addressing it.
“We are required by state law to notify any resident or user of our water that we are out of compliance,” said Eaton. “So we do these as a door hanger to each user of water. The city is required to do this quarterly.”
Eaton said this is not the first time they have issued these notices. The city is in the process of correcting the issue, but it takes about 60 days to get the equipment installed, get it checked and make sure it treats the water properly.
“Then they go into manufacturing equipment, so this process probably isn’t going to be done with really good luck until at the earliest, late in the year,” said Eaton. “A week or two ago we had a pre-construction meeting and released them to get started on it.”
Eaton added right now they are doing the testing of the equipment and if it works then they will go into the manufacturing of the equipment.
“We have sewers to put in and things of that nature, which we will be working on,” said Eaton. “It’s all under contract. There will be more tests ran, but we are only required to do (these notices) quarterly.”
Eaton said from what he understands the levels are a minimum over what they should be, but it’s not astronomically over the required levels.
“It has been over for some time,” said Eaton. “In fact, I have a news article from 1979 saying we had radon problems then. We are in the process of getting everything taken care of.”
The notice given to residents indicates that the city should have a maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 5 and it actually tested at 7.5 for the running annual average (RAA) for period ending Dec. 31.
The letter also states that residents do not need to use an alternative water supply, however if there are specific health concerns they recommend talking to a doctor. It also indicates that there is no immediate risk and if there had been, residents would have been notified immediately.
It also said that people who drink water containing radionuclides in excess of the MCL over many years have an increased risk of getting cancer.
The city is currently contracted with Horner & Shifrin, Inc. for engineering services to address the radionuclide issues. They are also in agreement with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for a plan to address the issues.
For more information, contact the water system staff at Bonne Terre City Hall at 573-358-2254 or the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Southeast Regional office at 573-840-9750 or the Public Drinking Water Branch at 573-526-6925.
Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or email@example.com