SHOW ME THE RECORDS: Columbia's annual water quality report available

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | 12:01 a.m. CST

You can learn a lot about your community, state and country. Open records help people keep government in check and help them better understand how government affects their lives.

For a complete list of Show Me the Records, go to

The records: Columbia Water & Light provides annual reports on the quality of treated water, including pH level, calcium concentration and contaminant levels.

Why you'd want them: You can find out whether your drinking water is contaminated, what substances are in your water and at what concentrations.

Where you get the records: Go to and look for "Water Quality Report." Click on the link. Then look for "Water Testing Results." It should generate a pdf file.

How much will it cost: The information is free.



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Mike McMillen February 22, 2012 | 3:58 a.m.

Is the fluoride in our water the same fluoride that is in crest and Colgate toothpaste that has a warning label that says "If swallowed call poison control immediately?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking February 22, 2012 | 7:43 a.m.

Mike McMillen wrote:

"Is the fluoride in our water the same fluoride that is in crest and Colgate toothpaste that has a warning label that says "If swallowed call poison control immediately?"

The dose makes the poison. The fluoride in toothpaste is thousands of times more concentrated than fluoride in water.

We probably don't have to add fluoride to water anymore, because we have a lot of sources of it that we didn't when they started doing it. But health authorities generally consider it beneficial in small amounts.

Would you eat this?


And here's a nasty one:

Tap water is one of the most tested and watched commodities we use regularly. The record that is the subject of this article shows they take great care to keep our water safe. People who are afraid of it are misallocating risk.

(Thanks, Rachel. I hope you made lots of money.)


(Report Comment)
frank christian February 22, 2012 | 8:54 a.m.

I recall Columbia newspaper article back when Crest (Proctor&Gamble, a CORP.)concluded years of testing that proved to American Dental Assn., that their toothpaste with fluoride could prevent cavities in teeth.

Columbia was obtaining all it's water from deep wells with pumps. To silence cries of "add flouride to our drinking water, as cities all over the country are doing!", the article was to inform our public that our water contained far more flouride naturally, than anyone else was "adding".

(Report Comment)
Chris Cady February 22, 2012 | 3:56 p.m.

Well said Mark!

Frank: curious when that was? Can you narrow it down to a decade at least? It must have been prior to the installation of the alluvial wells we're using now.

Rather interesting that there's almost half a part per billion of (presumably naturally occurring) uranium in the water. Of course it's well below the MCL, so it's not a hazard, but who knew.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 22, 2012 | 5:08 p.m.

Chris - I'm sure it was after 1955 when I returned to Columbia from military service. Another thought would make it soon after 1955 as wikipedia states that is when Crest was introduced in the U.S. This states by 1962 Crest had become the best selling toothpaste in history. The tests with children were well publicized and am sure this is what caused the outcry.

Too bad about memories, I can remember being shown one of those wells but not where I saw it. What wells that have not been used for years are now being considered for another purpose. Didn't we read about that recently? I felt that those were our old "deep wells".

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 22, 2012 | 6:10 p.m.

Chris C. - I don't know you and just would be interested to learn if you or anyone has found information from my memory to be true, or false.

(Report Comment)

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