ST. CHARLES, Mo. – St. Charles citizens are meeting with officials Wednesday evening over the water crisis confronting the city.
In the 1970s, Ameren Missouri used a scouring solvent called tetrachloroethylene to clean equipment at the substation, according to Paul Michalski, a senior hydrogeologist 212 Environmental. Ameren attempted to degrade the chemical in soil and groundwater. Two carcinogens were created in the process—cis-1,2-Dichloroethene and vinyl chloride—both of which are harmful to human beings.
Those chemicals seeped into the groundwater over the years.
At Wednesday’s meeting, city leaders will inform residents what they can expect to hear in an all-important EPA hearing tomorrow, which will address the issue.
St. Charles has already shut down four of its seven pumps that provide drinking water to the city. Officials are worried about the fate of the remaining three.
It could cost taxpayers plenty.
Mayor Dan Borgmeyer says the city has already spent $2 million dealing with the crisis and getting water elsewhere. He warns if St. Charles has to close the three remaining water wells and relocate to a new site taxpayers could be out some $40 million.
Officials hope the EPA orders Ameren Missouri to conduct a remedial program to clean up the area.
Ameren Missouri says it’s cooperating with the EPA and doing everything required of it. Ameren says it welcomes the discussions with the EPA, the City of St. Charles, and others.
The EPA spokesman says its goal is safe drinking water and they’re working hard to make that a reality.
Meanwhile, St. Charles leaders are hinting that if they can’t get the satisfaction they deserve, they may take the issue to court and let a judge decide matters.