Something In The Water?
Boonville water officials say the city couldn't immediately meet the Environmental Protection Agency's newly-tightened federal requirements.
The EPA gave the city a variance to allow it enough time to meet water safety guidelines, and city officials insist that Boonville water is safe to drink.
Boonville resident Letha Bieber, a cancer survivor, says that she worries about her drinking water.
"Sometimes I wonder with the taste of the water if there is something in there that is harmful to anyone," Bieber says. "Not just a person who is a cancer survivor, but to anyone."
Despite assurances of city officials, Bieber and her husband switched to bottled water once they heard about the concerns about Boonville's water supply.
The EPA requires cities with fewer than 10,000 residents to meet strict new water treatment requirements.
When disinfecting water, the EPA says, the byproducts left behind are cancer-causing agents called trihalomethanes, or TTHM.
"We know trihalomethanes are a suspected carcinogen," says M.L. Cauthon, director of public works in Boonville. "Suspected carcinogens means a cancer causing agent. Just because its suspected that's enough to come up with a different or better way to do it."
To meet the new standards, Boonville's water treatment plant changed its disinfectant from chlorine to chloramines. The chemical is a mix between chlorine and ammonia. Boonville just sent out notices of changes in the city's water treatment.
People on dialysis or with home aquariums will be most affected by the water treatment change. Boonville water informed local businesses about the change including the local dialysis clinic. Boonville is one of many Mid-Missouri cities trying to make changes.