(Kansas City, Kan., August 18, 2008) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently sampling soil and water from private wells at residences in Moniteau and Miller counties. The samples collected by EPA are being screened for the presence of lead and other metals. There is no cost to the property owner or resident for the sampling.
For most of its history, Missouri was the largest lead producer in the country. Historical records show that lead was first mined in Moniteau County in 1841 and in Miller County in the 1850s. Lead mining, smelting and milling has contributed to lead contamination in soils and water in various locations throughout the state.
Previous sampling in the Central Mining District (Camden, Cole, Miller, Moniteau and Morgan counties) has identified some private water wells with lead, arsenic, or cadmium at concentrations above health-based drinking water standards. Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful if inhaled or swallowed. Children are more sensitive to lead than adults and can develop life-long learning disabilities and behavior problems from lead exposure.
EPA will only collect samples after the property owner has granted access. The sampling will be performed by a team of EPA contractors carrying proper identification. Sampling will take less than 30 minutes and the results will be reported to the resident within two months. Residents do not need to be home when the samples are collected. Water samples are typically collected from an outside spigot, so home entry is not usually required.