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      Vienna battles toxins in drinking water

      The Maries County of Vienna has been fighting high levels of a toxin in its drinking water for years.

      Vienna's drinking water is contaminated with a toxin known as PCE chemical used in dry-cleaning and metal degreasing.

      "It's not bad. It doesn't affect taste," Vienne PViublic Works Shon Westart said.

      Still, the contamination levels are too much for the EPA TMs taste.

      Studies have shown exposure over time can cause cancer.

      Officials said the contamination came from an old hat factory about two football fields away from the city's main well, which is 400 feet deep

      The factory closed 15 years-ago, but its history goes back to world war two, and officials said over the years the factory's chemicals have found their way into the ground water.

      Signs have been posted around town about the contamination.

      However, none were posted by the school's drinking fountains, which have some parents worried.

      "It's a very open situation, Vienna Schools Superintendent Richard Spacek said. I don't feel like there's been anything at all that's been hidden or not announced to the public."

      More than 500 kids are in the Maries R-1 District. The superintendent said most drink from the water fountains, though some choose to bring bottled water from home.

      Spacek said that he drinks the tap water and "It's currently on my desk."

      This summer the city received $2 million in stimulus money to build a new water treatment plant.

      If the city makes it on the EPA TMs superfund list they will be eligible for more federal dollars to help rid the water of the chemical.

      City officials encourage any residents with questions to call Vienna City Hall.

      Or you can ask your questions in a public meeting on March 11 at 7 p.m. in the Maries R-1 school cafeteria.

      Representatives from the EPA and the state will be there.