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Mountain Grove residents have been asked to boil their water. Michele Skalicky has more on what prompted the MO Department of Natural Resources to issue a boil water order.
The MO Department of Health and Senior Services went door to door in Mountain Grove last Friday conducting a public health survey. Autumn Grim, senior epidemiology specialist with the Department's SE District, says the survey was prompted by concerns from Mountain Grove residents.
The Department interviewed around 130 people—50 or so said they'd had diareah as far back as May. Grim says the number of cases of gastro-intestinal illnesses is above what they'd normally see in a population the size of Mountain Grove's.
Grim says the strongest link between those who reported being sick was tap water.
Mountain Grove City Manager Rick Otursky says the boil water order issued by the MO Department of Natural Resources was a precautionary measure.
Mountain Grove gets its water from 2 wells that are 1500 feet deep. Otursky says they've never been treated until now.
The city sends 5 water samples each month to DNR for testing. According to Otursky, in the last 12 months, 3 of the 60 tests showed traces of choloform. Because of that, and the survey that the Department of Health and Senior Services conducted, the city is installing a chlorination system. It was expected to be up and running by this afternoon.
Charles Collins is Public Drinking Water Chief with MO DNR's Southwest Regional Office
DNR is currently conducting additional tests to determine what the problem is
Results should be known within 2 weeks. According to Collins, anytime total choloform bacteria is found in a water system, it indicates that the integrity of that water system has been breached somewhere, and their recommendation is to cholorinate and flush the system
While Rick Otursky doesn't mind complying with the requirement that they install a chlorination system, he doesn't believe the illnesses were caused by the city's water system
And Otursky believes there will be residents who are upset that their water has to be cholorinated
Until the boil water order is lifted, residents on the Mountain Grove public water system are asked to boil their water for 3 minutes prior to using it for drinking or cooking and they should disinfect dishes by immersing them for at least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.