Whispering Oaks Residential Care Facility LLC referred to Attorney General for enforcement action

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-339 For Immediate Release: Sept. 17, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources today asked the Missouri Attorney General's Office to pursue legal action against Whispering Oaks Residential Care Facility LLC in St. Louis County for violations of Missouri's Safe Drinking Water Law. The Department contacted the business owners of this site multiple times, but has not received an adequate response.

The Department's enforcement actions help protect human health and the environment by requiring facilities to maintain compliance. The Department's main goal in any enforcement action is to work with a facility to successfully achieve compliance with the standards and then ensure they have the tools to remain in compliance. As part of that process, penalties may be used as an incentive to ensure future compliance and to remove the economic benefit of continued noncompliance.

Whispering Oaks Residential Care Facility LLC failed to monitor and meet drinking water standards for microbiological contaminants, failed to have a water operator certified to operate the system, modified the system without authorization, failed to monitor for residual chlorine concentration and maintain the proper level of disinfectant within the distribution system, and failed during 2007 and 2008 to comply with the Maximum Contamination Levels for radionuclide's, specifically for combined radium-226 and radium-228. This public water system failed to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Law and Regulations. While these violations are not a serious threat to the natural environment, they do present a serious and ongoing threat to the public who are subjected to serious risks of health and welfare. The risks are even more serious for the very young, aged or those who due to illness have compromised or weakened immune systems.

Missouri's Safe Drinking Water Law exists to protect public and environmental health. The Department is responsible for enforcing the law and regulations. The Department referred the case to the Attorney General's Office to compel compliance and to seek an appropriate civil penalty for violations at the site.

The Department strives to work with owners and operators to fix problems before an issue is referred. In situations where the responsible party is unwilling to cooperate to bring the facility into compliance and be protective of environmental and human health, the Department will refer the case.

For more information contact the Department's Public Drinking Water Branch at 573-751-5331 or call toll-free at 800-361-4827.