The Public Water Supply District One of Dent County was incorporated in the 1960s to provide water to rural residents of Dent County. A six-member board oversees the district with the assistance of a bookkeeper, which is typical of how water districts are overseen. According to Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Southeast Regional Officer Jason Kirkman, DNR considers the board the water supply owners of each respective district, which essentially means that DNR holds the board accountable to water supply regulations and operations.

“We have our own bylaws that govern how we operate,” board president Gary Kellerman said.

Kellerman said that they work closely with DNR in order to be in compliance with all water-testing regulations.

According to Kirkman, all water districts are required to have a Designated Operator certified through the state in order to conduct tests and operate water systems. In Dent County, that operator is Michael Pyles, who Kirkman says has done an above-adequate job of keeping the district in compliance. According to Kirkman, Dent County Public Water Supply District One has historically not had any significant problems maintaining compliance. Recently, in December 2020, the district was found to follow the proper regulations in the Sanitary Survey, which is an inspection conducted by DNR every three years. They also continue to maintain all DNR regulations, including monthly bacterial testing and proper periodical chemical testing in order to maintain the safety of the water system.

Additionally, Kirkman pointed out that Dent County Water Supply District One is a chlorinated system which requires daily testing. Kirkman said that in the December inspection there were only minor inconsistencies with DNR regulations at Dent County One that were remedied in a timely fashion in order for the Dent County Water Supply District One to maintain compliance.

Kellerman said that the board does their best to follow regulations in service to the public. Kellerman said that since he joined the board in 1993 they’ve added two towers, one pump and one booster station as water needs increased across the county. Kellerman said that the district is self-sustaining, the income from bills collected goes directly to the maintenance equipment or to have proper water testing done or is kept in a fund in order to pay for any unexpected expense that the district might face.

“A lot of our lines were put in in the mid-70’s,” said Kellerman, “But our guys do a great job with upkeep and replacement as necessary.”

DNR regulates all public water supply systems that have at least 15 water hookups or serve at least 25 people 60 days out of the year. This includes what Kirkman described as community water supplies like Dent County One, which is overseen by an appointed board as well as city water supplies that are typically overseen by the respective city council.

Kirkman indicated that the public can find information on the Missouri DNR website page Drinking Water Watch , which includes detailed information about current data regarding every water supply in the state.