St. Charles urges taxpayers to attend open meeting with EPA about water contamination on Nov. 17

Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 10:20 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The City of St. Charles is making a push to get residents to attend a meeting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to discuss water contamination on Nov. 17.

This follows last month’s announcement that new chemical contamination has been found in the city of St. Charles’ well field.

Some St. Charles residents like Jim Shappe told News 4 that since the water is safe to drink, it’s business as usual.

“What am I going to do? Go and listen to them? Whatever. I got other problems,” Schappe said.

Others, like Leonard Hyman, said he’s changing his drinking habits.

“[I’m drinking] bottled water,” Hyman shared. “Bottled water or something that’s been cooked like tea.”

The City of St. Charles said the EPA needs to clear up confusion as it investigates Ameren Missouri.

“What we do know, we have a known contamination source at the heart of their Ameren substation,” Director of Public Works for the City of St. Charles Nick Galla said. “No data shows this comes from another source. That source we do know about is in the heart of all our wells.”

Ameren Missouri disagrees. The company said it is fully cooperating with the EPA in its investigation and supports a transparent process.

Inside a two-page, “Fact sheet,” from Ameren Missouri, it states the source of the chemical showing up in a recent sample from a St. Charles well is not known. It further states Ameren Missouri supports the EPA to expand testing of the area near City Well 6, “Including all possible paths the detected chemical could be using to reach the area, including the possibility that chemicals from a more distant location traveled to the well through the nearby municipal sewer line.”

According to Ameren Missouri, 700 of its residents live and work in the City and County of St. Charles.

The EPA will meet with the public next week to talk about contamination found prior to 2021. The City of St. Charles said that’s a problem because the contamination found in 2022 needs to be addressed.

“Why are you rushing this through? What’s your plan to find this additional source,” Galla said.

The city of St. Charles has seven water wells. Four have been shut down due to contamination: the first in 2005, the second in 2011 and two more in 2022.

The city’s concern is it will have more wells go offline, increasing the amount of water being bought from the City of St. Louis. St. Charles taxpayers are already paying $2 million to St. Louis for at least 60% of its water.

“It’s not something we feel we should be burdened when someone else polluted our groundwater,” Galla said.

“What are you going to do? You have to fix it or it will stay the same or get worse,” St. Charles business owner Leonard Hyman said.

All City of St. Charles residents are invited to attend next week’s meeting.

It’s set for Thursday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. inside Memorial Hall in Blanchette Park.

Residents are encouraged to research the topic and come with questions.