Routine test reveals elevated levels of lead in city’s water
By Ethan Colbert
City of Frankford Mayor John Schindler says that until further tests are completed and
demonstrate otherwise, Frankford residents should rest assured that the city’s
water supply is not detrimental to their health despite a recent water sample testing positive for lead.
“It is my understanding that the level is not high enough to be considered an immediate
health risk,” Schindler said during a sparsely attended town hall meeting on Tuesday, February 27. Three local residents and members of the city council attended the town hall meeting, which was
held at the community center. The Frankford mayor said he would encourage local
residents to follow the steps outlined in the Missouri Department of Natural Resources letter to residents for “additional peace of mind.”
In a letter to city residents, which was enclosed in the city’s water bill, the state department
advises residents to do the following: purchase bottled water for cooking and
drinking; flush the tap for one or two minutes before using the water for drinking or
cooking; or purchase or lease a home treatment device.
According to Schindler, the letter was sent in response to the results of a
routine test of the city’s water supply, which was conducted between June and
During that routine test, water samples were pulled from five homes in Frankford. A water sample pulled from a home on East Main Street tested positive for lead contamination.
Since that test in September, the city is testing another water sample from the East Main Street property. The results of that test should be available within a couple of months, according to Schindler.
“Right now, we are wanting to see if this was a one-time occurrence or if this
was a coincidence, or if this is something else entirely,” Schindler said in an interview.
According to Schindler, the home has been a test site for years. “We are not sure exactly
why the water test came back positive,” Schindler said. “According to DNR, the
chemical composition of the water has not changed from previous
Since that initial positive test, city officials say they have been working closely
with the Department of Natural Resources to determine why the water tested positive for lead.
“I don’t necessarily know what has caused it,” Schindler said. “I don’t think we are
going to be the next Flint, Michigan.”
Schindler was referring to the Flint Water Crisis, which began in 2014 when the drinking
water source for the metropolitan city was changed to the Flint River. Due to
insufficient water treatments, more than 100,000 residents were potentially exposed to high
levels of lead in the drinking water.
Consuming water contaminated by lead can cause serious health problems,
according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
According to DNR, the contaminated water can cause damage to the brain and kidneys.
The water can also interfere with the body’s production of red blood cells, which carry
oxygen throughout the body. Water contaminated with water poses the greatest health risks to
infants, young children, and pregnant women. A federal state of emergency was declared
in January 2016 and Flint residents were instructed to use only bottled water or filtered water for drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing. As of early 2017, the water quality had returned to acceptable levels. However, the Associated Press is reporting that the city’s residents have been
instructed to continue to use bottled or filtered water until all of the lead pipes have been replaced, which is expected to be completed no sooner than 2020. Schindler said there are distinct differences between the City of Frankford and Flint, Michigan. “We haven’t changed our water treatments or made changes in where we get our water,” Schindler said. “There is no lead solder in the city pipes.” Instead, Schindler said that the aging piping within the homes of Frankford could have caused the positive test result. “A lot of these homes, most homes in Frankford, were built before 1990, when copper pipes were used in homes,” Schindler said. In his remarks during the town hall, Schindler said he and city officials would continue to update residents regarding the results of the second round of tests. He also said that if the second water sample from East Main Street tested positive for lead, then the city would conduct a third round of tests with water from all of the homes on East Main Street being tested.
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