Erin Brockovich criticizes Columbia Water and Light

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Water & Light gained widespread attention online Wednesday following a Facebook post from well-known and self-described environmental activist Erin Brockovich.

Brockovich called Columbia Water & Light "lazy" and "cheap" in her post following the city's announcement it would change the way it cleans the city's water. Columbia Water & Light Spokeswoman Connie Kacprowicz said the city tends to clean the water with chlorine during the warmer summer months.

During the fall, the city adds traces of ammonia to the water to remove the chlorine taste. It's a process referred to as the chloramine disinfection method.

Kacprowicz said cities across the country have used the method for about 90 years. She also said this change from chlorine-only disinfection to chloramine disinfection is typical for the city to make, but it has gained more attention following Brockovich's post.

Brockovich accused Columbia Water & Light of lying in her post, saying the city never got recommendations from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources about using the chloramine disinfection method.

Kacprowicz said Columbia Water & Light can't make changes to its water treatment process without consulting the DNR about it.

"For water utilities, the number one thing has to be safety," Kacprowicz said.

Kacprowicz criticized Brockovich's post telling KOMU 8 News it was filled with "misinformation" and that Brockovich never mentioned any issues to Water & Light before making her post.

Columbia Water & Light sent out a news release earlier this week, letting residents know about the change.