DNR declares emergency in Bootheel town

Thursday, January 14, 2010 ~ Updated 3:48 PM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has declared a hazardous substance emergency in Hayti Heights after the city was unable to provide consistent drinking and waste water services to its citizens.

The declaration will allow the Missouri Rural Water Association to operate the plant at the department's request until a more permanent solution can be found.

The department was notified over New Year's weekend that citizens of Hayti Heights had no drinking water and that sewage was backing up into homes and yards. Bottled water was brought in and department staff sent to investigate found the drinking water plant shut down and in a state of disrepair and the wastewater system overloaded and with broken pumps at several lift stations, according to a news release issued by DNR.

In addition, the city's management of its drinking water system resulted in excess chemicals being added to the system, with the threat of chlorine from treated drinking water being released into the environment.

The department is asserting its right under Missouri statutes to "clean up any release of a substance if such release is a threat to the environment," and is taking the necessary steps to end such hazardous substance releases until a more permanent solution can be found.

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