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Freistatt board focuses on spill

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A major sewage spill in Freistatt prompted discussion by the Freistatt Board of Trustees at the January meeting.

A sewer line blockage developed in the main on the northwest side of town in a farm field. The source of the problem was never found, but it appeared to have developed near where three collection lines converged into the central main, the same location where a similar problem took place in 2007.

The latest incident, discovered by the landowner while harvesting a soybean crop on Dec. 17, 2009, had saturated more than an acre and was running into a neighboring property owner's pond at more than five gallons a minute. The village contacted Monett for help. A pump truck and jet rodder were sent to the scene.

It took a second day of work before Monett crews managed to resolve the situation. More than 12,000 gallons were pumped out of the sewer main. There was concern that the wastewater lagoon was backfilling into the main. Representatives from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources inspected the scene and gave instructions that lime needed to be spread on the field to neutralize the contamination.

Jeff Ceperley with Simmons Engineering, recommended having the fire department flush the sewer mains with a considerable quantity of water annually to head off future problems. Trustees authorized wastewater operator Charles Stearns to get documentation from the sewer customers with grease traps showing annual pumping. Stearns remained unconvinced as to what caused the problem, considering the size of Freistatt's customer base and the minimal amount of grease produced at the school and restaurant.

Trustees agreed to test the contaminated pond and spread lime as requested. They were open to compensating the landowners for the bean crop but damages would not be known until harvesting was completed.

Community building

Trustees discussed ongoing mold issues with the Freistatt Community Building with Terry Tennill, a maintenance technician for Ag Forte. Tennill offered his help in resolving the situation. He thought the walls are solid concrete and should not be holding any mold. Trustees told Tennill there had been no recent roof repairs. Tennill was concerned another set of ceiling tiles holding moisture may be in place above the visible dropped ceiling, since such an arrangement was found above the furnace. Tennill agreed to explore further.

Financial issues

Trustees passed a final financial report for 2010.

The three-year deal with the CPA Group in Monett to audit the village's books annual had concluded. Trustees agreed to seek bids for future service, leaving the option open for another multi-year contract.

Clerk Deborah Schoen reported that she followed through on last month's authorization to buy magnetic signs for the public works truck by buying a second set for the marshal's vehicle. The cost was $10 per pair cheaper if two were purchased, Schoen said.

According to Trustee Bryan Painter, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will let trustees decide if they want to post signs around the new crosswalk by the post office to keep people from blocking it while parking. Since most of those stopping at the post office are regular users, trustees decided to try personal overtures to specific drivers to see if the problem could be remedied without further expense.

Miscellaneous business

Painter reported he would again talk to MoDOT about putting the speed limit signs back up at the city limits.

New signs for the community building in Old English lettering will be ordered, Ortwein reported. The lettering which is also in use on the new water tower, is perceived as a reflection of old Germany and thus speaks to the community's heritage, Schoen said.

The next regular board meeting will be on Thursday, Feb. 11.

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