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Leadwood revisits water woes

The Leadwood Board of Aldermen discussed the continuing saga of the town’s water woes at its meeting on Monday. The city has struggled for years with its water system.

Mayor David Henry reiterated his and water supervisor Kevin Brooks’s recent experiences with the system breaking down, and their efforts to work with the state, the engineering firm, and Filtronics, the California company whose filtration system the city uses.

“The state is on us, hard,” Henry said. “They’re wanting an end to all radionuclides. Doesn’t matter that everybody’s got ‘em, they want ’em gone. They’re getting kinda horsey with us, if you want to know the truth.”

In June, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) expressed concern about the city’s lack of progress in removing radionuclides from their water. Radionuclides have been linked to increased cancer risks. Several neighboring cities’ water systems have had to deal with increased regulations and demands for compliance in recent years.

Leadwood recently has attempted to comply with all of the DNR’s recommendations, but the numbers for contaminants are still elevated. Henry said, as if that’s not enough, the water treatment plant has been breaking down lately. There have been efforts to bring down someone from St. Louis to analyze the system and come up with fixes.

After the meeting, Brooks said, in a nutshell, Leadwood’s depending on a hefty grant from USDA Rural Development to cover 65% of the estimated $6 million needed to address the city’s water system, and the balance will have to come from a loan.

“But, before we can secure the money, we have to jump through their hoops, and it takes a long time,” he said. “We have a water system that’s over 80 years old and it’s crumbling. We have to have a new system.”

Alderman Bill Resinger said after years of problems with the water system, residents need results.

“This can’t keep on dragging and dragging and dragging,” he said.

Alderman Charlie Lewis agreed.

“It’s hard to make people understand, we pay the same water bill they do, and we’re just as frustrated, if not more, because we’re the ones who are trying to make it happen and it’s not happening,” he said. “It’s just frustrating. All we want to see is equipment coming in and digging.”

Henry said he and Brooks will continue to work with the state, the engineering firm, and Filtronics to address the problems surrounding the city’s water system, and to work toward overhauling the system completely.

In other water-related news, the board discussed the importance of putting landlords’ names on the water bill, and emphasized that owners of rental houses and apartments would be on the hook for unpaid water balances left by previous tenants. The board also encouraged City Clerk Kendra Boyer to come up with an application for new residents needing water hook-up, and also authorized her to come up with a form for disconnects, so that residents would better understand the process of being disconnected from the city’s water system.

The board of aldermen also:

  • Approved buying a new paper shredder from Walmart for $97.
  • Approved sending the annual pre-audit and audit out for bid.
  • Approved paying the monthly bills.
  • Reviewed tax rate information from St. Francois County.
  • Discussed trash, nuisance properties, and the importance of enforcing nuisance ordinances.
  • Accepted Brandon Hall’s bid of $300 to haul away a Crown Victoria the city no longer needs.
  • Discussed trimming some of the city park’s trees.
  • Heard a report about tire replacement on city vehicles.
  • Set the next meeting for Aug. 26.
Leadwood's Board of Alderman reviews several water issues at the Monday meeting.

Leadwood’s Board of Alderman reviews several water issues at the Monday meeting.

Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or at

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