New drinking water well completed at High Point Elementary School in Moniteau County

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-320 For Immediate Release: Sept. 10, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. -- With a new drinking-water well pumping better quality water into High Point Elementary School, teachers, students and parents can spend the new school year focused on test scores instead of their drinking water. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources funded the new well through a federal trust fund and replaced the school's existing, contaminated well.

To mark the completion of the new drinking water well, Department staff, school board members, teachers and students assembled for a ribbon cutting at the new well in High Point on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

 "Missouri has some of the best water in the nation, and it's my honor to be able to help supply your school with safe drinking water," Ken Koon, Tanks Section Chief with the Department, said at the ribbon cutting.

After tests of the school's drinking water showed elevated levels of benzene in late 2007, the Department began purchasing bottled water for the school as an immediate, temporary solution. Benzene is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor and is a natural part of crude oil and gasoline products.

Recognizing the need for the school to have a safe supply of drinking water, the Department also began planning for a new water well.

School board officials and teachers were relieved to once again have a high quality supply of water in the school. "We're glad the bottled water is gone," School Board member Debbie Calvird said. Calvird added working with the Department has been a "favorable" experience.

The new water well is sealed to prevent shallow petroleum contaminated water from entering the school's water system. The new well was drilled to a depth of more than 800 feet. Testing by the Department has indicated there is no benzene contamination at this depth. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources contracted with Barr Engineering Company, Jefferson City, to drill and install the new drinking water well at High Point Elementary School

The school's water will continue receive regular testing. It is a legal requirement for public drinking water systems to receive regular testing.   

Funding for the installation of new drinking water well came from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Fund, a federal fund established to provide money for cleanups at underground storage tank sites where the owner or operator is unknown, unwilling or unable to respond. While the Department's Division of Geology and Land Survey was unable to pinpoint the source of the benzene contamination, the Department will continue to investigate.

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Editor: Photo is available at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/newsrel/images/2009-09-09-high-point-photo.JPG.

Cutline: As teachers, board members and students look on, High Point Elementary School Board President Rick Percival, right, with scissors, and the Department's Tanks Section Chief Ken Koon, cut a ribbon and formally open the new drinking water well at High Point Elementary School.