ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – When the new broke over the weekend that the water supply to nearly a half million residents in northwest Ohio had been contaminated by an algae born toxin, experts back here in St. Louis at Missouri American Water rushed to find out if the same threat exists in our water.
Missouri American provides service to 1.1 million customers in St. Louis County drawing water from both the Missouri and Meramec Rivers. The flow in those rivers is far less supportive of the dangerous algae found on Lake Erie the water supply for northwest Ohio.
“In Toledo they get their water from Lake Erie and it is shallow. I it is still and it is surrounded by farm land. If it rains and there is excess fertilizer on the farm land it’s going into that lake and it creates very good conditions for algae growth.” Ann Dettmer from Missouri American Water goes on to say, “It’s very unlikely we would have that particular problem here.”
That’s because the Missouri and Meramec run faster, deeper and are more turbulent. Still Missouri American takes nothing to chance. They test the waters multiple times per day at multiple different stages of the purification process.
To further their understanding of potential threats posed by algae in the future, Missouri American is entering into a study with the Missouri Institute of Technology in Rolla to look more deeply at the very problems that forced the water plants in Ohio to shutter this weekend.
Dettmer says, “It’s all about the quality of this water. It’s got to stay safe and good to drink.”