SILEX, Mo. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says one public water system in Lincoln County is dealing with “elevated” levels of radionuclides, prompting concerns about the safety of public drinking water.

The City of Silex, a small community north of Troy, has declared a city-wide emergency over the presence of radium within its “groundwater source for its water supply,” according to EPA officials.

The EPA has also directed Silex city officials to prepare a plan to provide residents with an alternative source of water. The EPA says the contamination is “not an immediate threat” to the public, but one that could derive from consistent and long-term exposure.

“As the levels of radionuclides in the Silex [Public Water System] have been persistently elevated for numerous years, EPA encourages members of the Silex community who are concerned about their water to use alternative sources of drinking water, such as bottled water, for drinking and cooking,” said the EPA via a news release. “Our goal is to work with the City to find other long-term solutions as quickly as possible.”

According to the EPA, the city of Silex has a history of radionuclide violations, and the most recent violation came on Aug. 11, 2023. Silex had an annual average of 5.75 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), nearly one whole picocurie above the maximum contaminant level.

Federal officials say, however, there are no known health effects of radium from dermal exposure. Therefore, activities like bathing, washing dishes, and laundry do not pose a risk or require bottled water.

This is a developing story. FOX 2 will update as more information becomes available.