The city of Richland no longer has to boil water, says Missouri Department of Natural Resources. On Wednesday, June 27, the boil water order was lifted but the city will continue to chlorinate the water until the approximately mid-July. Richland announced via Facebook the water was safe enough to drink after flushing the water supply with chlorine for a little over a week.
The samples sent to the DNR from Richland came back positive. “We sent in our samples and they came back good,” Susan Alexander, the city clerk of Richland, said. Alexander said they will continue to send samples to the DNR as a part of their routine testing.
The boil water order was put into effect after routine testing found dangerous amounts of E-Coli and Coliform in the 75,000-gallon storage tank.
Environmental Specialist Troy Kerley of the Missouri DNR said the source of the bacteria came from animals as was suspected by the DNR and by the city of Richland. “The source of the E-Coli was believed to be from the 75,000-gallon storage tank, as bird feathers were observed in the screen of the overflow pipe during the Department’s investigation,” Kerley said. The vent damage is believed to be from thunderstorms.
After confirming there was harmful bacteria in the drinking water, Kerley said they immediately started working to solve the issue. “Based upon the findings, the Department requested the city to isolate (take offline) the 75,000-gallon storage tank and begin draining,” Kerley informed.
Following isolation of the tank, Kerley said the DNR installed temporary chlorination in the city’s wells and required the city to monitor chlorine residuals daily. The DNR also instructed the city to contact their tank contractor to help solve the issue.
“Lastly, the city was instructed to contact their tank contractor to climb the tank and inspect for sanitary deficiencies, make any necessary repairs, flush and disinfect the tank and collect safe samples before the tank can be placed back online,” Kerley said.
Alexander said Richland spent a few thousand dollars to clean the water supply. “I know we spent close to proximity or excess to $3,000 dollars,” Alexander said. Purchases covered tower repairs, chlorination supplies and testing samples.
Alexander and the DNR confirmed the water is safe enough to drink while they continue to chlorinate the water. Kerley said Richland will voluntarily chlorinate until mid-July and chlorination levels are compliant with the DNR’s standards.
Kerley confirmed tested samples indicated the water is also safe from E-Coli and Coliform. Residents are able to drink and use water as normal. The DNR reported that no one has gotten sick from the E-Coli outbreak.