On Tuesday, Aug. 4, residents in Eureka will have the opportunity to vote on the future of the city’s water and sewer systems. Missouri American Water has offered the city $28 million to purchase both systems and pledged to invest an additional $37.2 million in system improvements over the next five years. This capital commitment includes, but is not limited to, investing in a main extension to connect the Eureka water distribution system to Missouri American Water’s St. Louis County water supply and investing in the sewer system to maintain compliance with all current and future federal and state regulations.
Rate estimates show the average resident in Eureka would save about $1,240 over the next five years if Missouri American Water makes the needed water and sewer system investments, compared to if the city of Eureka makes needed investments by itself. If Eureka doesn’t sell its water and sewer systems, the city will need to keep raising rates to pay for required sewer system upgrades to maintain regulatory compliance and for any water system improvements.
Eureka currently draws its water from local wells, which results in the water being high in Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). Eureka’s level of TDS is much higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limit. High TDS results in water scaling, which can lead to costly damage to water-using appliances and plumbing. This often results in homeowners needing to more frequently repair and/or replace expensive items like washing machines, dishwashers, and water heaters. Scale accumulation around heating elements also prevents effective conduction, leading to higher electricity bills. Softening to reduce the hardness component of TDS can create additional water quality concerns and impact plumbing and appliances.
Missouri American Water will build a pipeline to supply Eureka with high-quality water from its St. Louis County system, which draws water from the Missouri and Meramec Rivers instead of wells.
The city of Eureka has many responsibilities and investment priorities, from roads to public safety. Selling to Missouri American Water will remove the headaches and liabilities of the aging water and sewer systems, allowing the city to focus on other important community priorities. The city would receive $28 million for the water and sewer systems. After paying off debt on the water and sewer systems, the city will have $20 million in net proceeds to reinvest in the community. The community would also benefit from an estimated $7.6 million in property taxes paid by Missouri American Water over the next ten years.
Missouri American Water has been providing high-quality service for 140 years. Our full-time professional staff has the experience and expertise necessary to run systems efficiently because water and sewer is all we do.
We operate 36 drinking water systems and 73 sewer systems across the state, providing service to approximately 1.5 million Missourians. Our team has the technical expertise to operate and maintain Eureka’s systems so they meet or surpass all state and federal regulations, protecting public health and the environment.
Missouri American Water is headquartered in St. Louis County, with nearly 700 employees across the state, including more than 400 employees in the St. Louis region. We are a subsidiary of American Water, the largest publicly traded water and sewer services provider in the country. Being part of a larger company provides us with the buying power and economies of scale to keep costs lower for our customers.
Our customers are at the center of everything we do, which is why we’re dedicated to providing outstanding customer service. You don’t have to take our word for it, though. We consistently rank in the top quartile of independent customer service surveys when compared to other utilities. This year J.D. Power ranked Missouri American Water 2nd highest in the Midwest for overall customer satisfaction in their 2020 Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM.
What does great customer service look like? It’s our employees working hard every day to provide safe, clean and reliable water service to our customers. Our water quality experts treat our water and wastewater to meet or surpass all state and federal standards, and our engineering and operation teams carefully plan and invest in our water and sewer systems as they age to maintain service and reliability.
Missouri American Water also provides convenient online options for checking water usage, making a service request, and paying your bill. Additionally, we have two U.S.-based customer service centers available anytime for emergencies and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for non-emergency issues.
Shall the city of Eureka, Missouri, be authorized to sell its water and waste water (sewer) utilities to Missouri American Water for the sum of $28,000,000.00 (Twenty-Eight Million Dollars)?
Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Click here to look up your polling location.
During the August primary and November general elections in 2020, Missouri voters will be eligible to cast ballots by mail with notarization of the ballot envelope, and voters in at-risk categories for contracting or transmitting COVID-19 are eligible to vote by absentee ballot without obtaining notarization. For more information please click here.
On June 30th there was a virtual information session held on Prop S. Mayor Sean Flower and Missouri American Water leaders Debbie Dewey and Brian Eisenloeffel presented an overview of the city’s water and sewer issues and the Prop S ballot measure, and answered live questions from viewers. Click below to view a recording of the presentation and Q&A session.
Missouri American Water is hosting three town hall meetings scheduled in July, and interested citizens can attend the meetings in person or view them online (either live during the event or after the event). We are committed to both our employee safety as well as yours, and ask that those attending in person follow all federal, state and local directives for social distancing at the in-person meetings. Click here for current St. Louis County guidelines.
|Town Hall Meetings|
|7:00 p.m.||The Timbers of Eureka|
|Thursday, July 16||1 Coffey Park Ln.|
|Thursday, July 23||Eureka, MO 63025|
|Thursday, July 30|
We want to answer any questions you may have, and have included responses to a few frequently asked questions. If you have any additional questions please submit them below.
Eureka's drinking water system is currently separate from the system serving the rest of St. Louis County. Eureka gets its water from wells that draw groundwater high in mineral content, which is measured by total dissolved solids (TDS). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guideline for TDS is 500 mg/L, and Eureka’s wells average about 800 mg/L. For comparison, Missouri American Water’s St. Louis County system averages 170-300 mg/L for TDS.
Missouri American Water's drinking water system in St. Louis County draws water from the Missouri and Meramec Rivers, not from wells like in Eureka. Our team of water quality experts closely monitor the treatment process to produce high-quality water that consistently meets or surpasses all state and federal standards. Missouri American Water’s treatment plants in St. Louis County are members of the Partnership for Safe Water, a recognition achieved by less than 1% of water utilities for consistently surpassing federal standards. You can check out our annual water quality reports online at https://amwater.com/moaw/water-quality/water-quality-reports/st-louis-region.
If the vote passes, Missouri American Water will build a pipeline to connect Eureka to its St. Louis County system so Eureka residents will receive the same high-quality water as the rest of St. Louis County.
To improve the quality of Eureka’s drinking water, Missouri American Water will initiate plans immediately to build a pipeline to connect Eureka to its St. Louis County system. A map of the proposed water main extension is below. Construction is projected to begin in 2021 and is estimated to be completed in 2022, at which time Eureka would start receiving water from St. Louis County instead of its wells.
Over the past several years Eureka city officials responded to water quality complaints by commissioning an engineering study of the issue and exploring potential options for improvement. One option considered was further treating the city’s well water using reverse osmosis (RO). A study paid for by the city and performed by Bartlett & West shows that RO is more costly to build and operate than Missouri American Water estimates connecting to the St. Louis County system would be, without any guarantee that the treated well water would be as high-quality as the County’s treated surface water from the Missouri and Meramec Rivers. RO systems are expensive, labor and maintenance intensive, have high on-going operating costs, and may not completely resolve all of the water quality concerns. Additionally, Missouri American Water has the buying power and economies of scale to build the pipeline while keeping rates affordable. For these reasons, Missouri American Water and Eureka city leaders believe connecting Eureka to the County’s high-quality water system is the best and most economical option.
Unfortunately water and sewer rates will go up whether Eureka votes to sell its systems or not due to improvements needed to maintain regulatory compliance and reliable service. The below charts show the combined (water and sewer) monthly rates that are projected over the next 5 years in both scenarios. The average Eureka resident uses 6,400 gallons of water a month. We have included a lower usage chart (4,400 gal) and a higher usage chart (8,400 gal) for reference as well.
Yes! In addition to the five Eureka public works employees that the company is planning to hire, Missouri American Water has more than 400 employees in the St. Louis region that operate and maintain our systems and respond quickly to any issues. Additionally, we have two U.S.-based customer service centers available anytime for emergencies and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for non-emergency issues. Customers can also check their usage, pay their bill, and request assistance online through our user-friendly web portal. If a customer does not think we have adequately addressed an issue or concern they can contact the Missouri Public Service Commission, which will independently investigate any unresolved customer complaints.
We work hard to provide outstanding quality, service and reliability for our customers. J.D. Power ranked Missouri American Water 2nd highest in the Midwest for overall customer satisfaction in their 2020 Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM. The company consistently ranks in the top quartile for customer service in independent surveys of utilities.
Missouri American Water is headquartered in Creve Coeur, MO, with more than 400 local employees serving the St. Louis region. We are a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), which is a publicly traded American company headquartered in Camden, NJ. The company’s investors are primarily those who are retired or saving for retirement, as well as the company’s own employees.
Unlike a municipality that can increase customer rates with a council vote, Missouri American Water customer rates are set by an independent state commission (the Missouri Public Service Commission), which conducts an extremely thorough audit of the company’s operations, financial records, and investments before setting customer rates. The review process takes 11 months to complete and includes many opportunities for public input at local public hearings throughout the state. At the end of the process the commission sets rates based on the cost of providing service to customers.
1 Based on rate projections for a 6,400 gallon user, which is the average for residential usage in Eureka. The projected rate comparison assumes the same investment level for Eureka and Missouri American Water for sewer compliance and system reliability, as well as for proper operations and maintenance. Eureka’s rates include $10 million for reverse osmosis to improve water quality, while Missouri American Water rates include $7 million to connect Eureka to the company’s St. Louis County system.