Is Hannibal’s Drinking Water Safe?
The safety of Hannibal's water was one of many questions posed to officials at the GAC water treatment seminar held at HLGU Wednesday evening.
Representatives from Jacobs Engineering, MoDNR, and city officials fielded questions about Hannibal’s water treatment process and a possible switch to a Granulated Actvated Carbon (GAC) filtration system. The questions ranged from very scientific to basic concerns. On the question of whether Hannibal's water is safe, Steve Feeler of MoDNR told the audience that Hannibal’s water is currently meeting MoDNR and EPA standards.
Jacobs engineers shared the results of their water study involving removal of chloramines—a mixture of chlorine and ammonia, and the addition of GAC. Hannibal began use of chloramines and UV in 2015 after being fined for excessive disinfection byproducts resulting from use of chlorine alone. The Jacobs study shows chloramines did in fact bring Hannibal’s drinking water into compliance.
Pressure from citizens groups regarding negative effects of chloramine prompted the city to contract with Jacobs to explore alternatives. The groups cite adverse health effects as well as damage to pipes and appliances. Citizens opposing chloramine gathered enough petition signatures to put the question of its removal before Hannibal voters. Proposition 1 will appear on the April 4 municipal ballot.
Just two days earlier, environmentalist Erin Brockovich and water expert Robert Bowcock held a public forum on chloramines at the Hannibal American Legion. They commended the citizens who got the issue on the ballot and urged the crowd to be informed and get out and vote.
The Jacobs study puts the cost of removing chloramines and adding GAC at around $10 million and would take about 4 years to completely implement. The typical residential water customer would see an increase in their water bill in the neighborhood of $7.72 a month according to the engineering study.
Water expert Robert Bowcock was present at Wednesday's meeting. Bowcock says he strongly believes both the price and the timeline could be significantly less.