Water expert says Columbia could be cheating water quality reports

10 months 2 weeks 6 days ago Wednesday, November 02 2016 Nov 2, 2016 Wednesday, November 02, 2016 6:39:00 PM CDT November 02, 2016 in News
By: Felesha Lee, KOMU 8 Reporter, Daniel Litwin, KOMU 8 Digital Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA – Water engineer Bob Bowcock visited Columbia today to assess the community’s water quality and infrastructure issues.

Julie Ryan and Marie Brown, co-founders of the COMO Safe Water Coalition, hosted Bowcock at the University of Missouri after communicating with him for about 6 weeks. Columbia residents have been communicating with him for about 2 years.

Bowcock is a water engineer for Erin Brockovich, a renowned environmental activist. Brockovich previously showed interest in Columbia's water issues, and sent Bowcock to check them out.

Ryan says having Bowcock inspect Columbia’s water issues will be helpful to the city because of his expertise.

“Having someone like Bob here who is experienced not only in the quality, but the infrastructure and all these different aspects of water really gives us a lot of background and a lot of knowledge," Ryan said.

One of the issues Bowcock found in Columbia's water is the use of chloramine in the water treating process. He said using less chemicals in the water treatment process makes the water safer for drinking. 

"If we clean the water properly, we don't have to use as many chemicals," Bowcock said.

Chloramine is a disinfectant added to Columbia. Bowcock said if the city took out organics from the water first, there would be no need for chloramine.

The City of Columbia's most recent water quality report said Columbia exceeds standards.

However, Bowcock went more in depth about how water quality reports can be misleading. Columbia changes its method of cleaning drinking water in the summer from chloramine to a free chlorine agent. Before this switch is made, the water is tested. Because the free chlorine has not yet entered the drinking water system and the chloramine is being flushed out, the water test is taken during the time the water is the most healthy. Bowcock says if the water sample was taken any earlier or later, the water quality test may differ, and he views this process as cheating, even though it is legal.

Another concern with Columbia water is the amount of trihalomethane. He said the city has met its requirements for the amount of trihalomethanes in drinking water, but the amount of trihalomethane that contaminates the air can still be dangerous. Bowcock said while the water may be safe for drinking, Columbia residents use the water for other things like laundry and showering that could put the dangerous carcinogens in the air. He said this is dangerous for everyone, but especially for pregnant women. He said research supports the idea that exposure to trihalomethanes over a 90-day period for a pregnant woman in her first trimester could cause miscarriages and low birth weight for pregnant women in their second or third trimester.

"It's not about those two or three or four glasses of water a day, its about all the way we use water in our homes," Bowcock said.

The city told KOMU it is waiting for the results of an epidemiological study from England on how chloramines impact people when showering.

Bowcock said he believes the most progress is made in a city with educated residents who are ready to make a change. He said he sees those qualities in Columbia and he is happy to help the city make a change.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Cooper's Landing had its first Rock n' Roll River Festival Saturday, where families enjoyed food, a fun atmosphere... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 4:35:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
CAMDENTON - The goal of the seventh annual Lake of the Ozarks Air Show on Saturday was to salute veterans.... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 4:14:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Central Missouri chapter of Parents of Murdered Children and Missouri Missing hosted a memorial picnic Saturday... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 3:55:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri has one of the lowest enrollment rates when it comes to the 529 College Savings Plan.... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 3:28:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Today MU, Auburn, Clemson and LSU are announcing their partnership in the U.S. Tiger University Consortium. Clemson president... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 3:16:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in Top Stories
EVERTON (AP) — Missouri school districts that adopted a four-day school week in recent years are not finding the savings... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 2:14:48 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A school district in Kansas City is praising a bus driver for safely getting 34 children... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 2:10:35 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — An undercover police officer and an Air Force lieutenant were among the 120 people who were... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 2:07:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - The Latter House Kingdom Ministries of Columbia will host their tenth annual Fall Festival today at the... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 7:59:00 AM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
ELDON - The people of Eldon are rallying around a family whose son suffered a spinal injury during football practice... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 7:31:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – A local gym held a fundraiser Friday night, and all it asked for was five minutes. But... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 7:03:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - One person is dead and three more are injured after a two vehicle crash on I-70. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 5:53:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Planned Parenthood is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate an appeals court order that slowed... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 5:47:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Gov. Eric Greitens will begin his first trade mission Saturday when he and First Lady Sheena... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 5:20:15 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Thirteen-year-old Jackson Morton was diagnosed with cancer in December 2016. "You can't even describe the emotion at... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 4:58:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Jefferson City Public Schools Superintendent Larry Linthacum released a letter addressing the three students who posted a picture... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 4:05:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Orthopaedic Institute is now offering a free sports clinic called Friday Night Lights. Sports physicians... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 3:15:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — A county clerk in central Missouri has determined that Attorney General Josh Hawley lawfully voted in a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 2:59:39 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 88°
7pm 86°
8pm 82°
9pm 79°
10pm 77°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

6:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 6
6:30p
Wheel of Fortune
7:00p
Dateline NBC
6:00p
The Cleveland Show
6:30p
The Cleveland Show
7:00p
Family Guy

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Dateline NBC
9:00p
Saturday Night Live
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld