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Attorney General's News Release

September 7, 2011

Attorney General Koster sues Cape Girardeau County couple for safe drinking water violations

Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit against a Jackson couple for multiple violations of Missouri’s Safe Drinking Water Law.

Koster said Shawn and Lynn McNally own and operate Class Act Family Fitness Center located in Jackson. The drinking water well serving the fitness center is a farm well of unapproved construction that the defendants illegally used as a public water supply for their patrons.

Koster said the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) learned of the public water system after being contacted by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) regarding several sick children who had consumed water contaminated with E. coli, a dangerous pathogenic bacterium. The contaminated drinking water was traced back to the Class Act Family Fitness Center. DNR issued an emergency abatement order requiring the defendants to immediately stop serving drinking water to the public. The defendants severed all connections to public drinking water fountains, hand washing sinks, and public showers within the fitness center. The defendants, however, continue to provide toilet services to their customers, many of whom are pre-school aged children. The McNallys have refused to install a compliant drinking water system, which would restore hand-washing services to the fitness center. The failure to provide hand-washing services endangers public health in that the inability to do so can result in the spread of diseases such as shigellosis, hepatitis A, and other intestinal disorders.

In addition, the McNallys violated state drinking water regulations at their fitness center by failing to:

  • Obtain authorization to construct, alter, or extend a transient non-community water system
  • Obtain a permit to dispense drinking water
  • Obtain authorization to alter the water source supply
  • Monitor for microbiological contamination levels for total coliform
  • Meet required levels of microbiological contamination levels

Koster is asking the court to issue preliminary and permanent injunctions requiring the defendants to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Law; to immediately construct a compliant public water system or connect Class Act Family Fitness to a compliant system; to assess a civil penalty of $50 per day for the first violation and $100 per day for each additional violation; and to require the defendants to pay all costs associated with the case.

“Businesses that serve the public must understand that they have not only a moral obligation, but also a legal obligation, to make sure the drinking water they provide to consumers is safe,” Koster said. “There is simply no excuse to violate these laws, and this office will continue to see they are vigorously enforced.”

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