State warns city over water bacteria levels
Kansas Department of Health and Environment warned Peabody in a letter last week that average bacteria levels in the city’s water are too high, mayor Tom Spencer said at Monday’s meeting.
The violation resulted in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placing Peabody on its list of enforcement priorities.
The city has until Thursday to respond to the letter or KDHE will take administrative action.
“My thought is to enter into a negotiating consent order,” councilman Jay Gfeller said. “That way we’re being proactive with trying to figure out what the issue is and what the solution shall be.”
Cities are required to send monthly samples that are tested for trihalomethane and haloacetic acid carcinogens and are averaged over 12 months.
The chemicals result when chlorine reacts with chemicals already present in tap water.
Peabody’s averages were skewed since there was a water leak last summer, which resulted in that month’s sample being sent after deadline.
“If we hadn’t had the water break and had been able to turn in the water report at that time then we probably wouldn’t have this issue,” Lindsay Hutchison said.
If no more water samples are missed and levels stay in the proper range, then tested bacteria levels will reset after 12 months.
“A year from the missed point was what we kept being told, but I didn’t know anything like this was going to come down from it,” Gfeller said. “I think that’s why we need to pursue it and find out what’s going on.”
Last modified March 12, 2020