JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced a $135,000 order on Wednesday against a Wildwood-based residential care facility that allegedly violated Missouri Drinking Water Law.
Whispering Oaks Residential Care, a residential care facility for individuals with serious disabilities or mental illnesses, operated an onsite drinking water well that was the only source of water for its residents. Whispering Oaks also supplied water to a neighboring nursing home.
In January 2010, the water system stopped operating, causing both care facilities to lose water. While the neighboring facility quickly found an alternative water source, Whispering Oaks allegedly continued to lack water for sinks, showers and toilets for three days. The allegedly deteriorating sanitary conditions inside the company’s facility caused St. Louis County officials to move residents out of the building.
Koster alleged Whispering Oaks violated Missouri Drinking Water Law during the three-day water outage.
“These violations resulted in deplorable conditions for the residents of Whispering Oaks Residential Care Facility,” Koster said. “I will pursue those who violate Missouri laws and put our most vulnerable citizens at risk.”
A St. Louis County jury found that Whispering Oaks violated the Missouri Drinking Water Law by failing to maintain adequate water pressure in the system. It also found that for approximately two-and-a-half years, Whispering Oaks failed to have a certified operator for the water system and failed to have a plan in place to address emergencies.
After the trial, Whispering Oaks was ordered to pay $135,000 in penalties.