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Friday, May 6, 2016

DNR conducts surprise inspection in Freistatt

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Freistatt village board members discussed the surprise inspection of the city's water and sewer system during the October board meeting.

Water and wastewater operator Charles Stearns said representatives from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources made an unscheduled comprehensive review of the city's utility system on Sept. 14. Stearns said the six-page report primarily found "paperwork issues" primarily.

Stearns said he had not filed an emergency discharge report on the Dec. 17, 2009, sewage spill. He would strive to handle reports in a more timely manner. Stearns has also filed copies of his reports in the city office, but had not kept copies for quick access. He planned to keep a set of his reports handy for future reference and requests.

DNR's report recommended procedural actions that prompted Stearns to ask the board to buy the DNR methods book for $250. Stearns had a dissolved oxygen meter and a pH meter. To complete setting up a lab, he requested a $287 thermometer to calibrate the equipment. Board member sapproved all the requests.

A major concern about the Freistatt system voiced by the DNR representatives has been the inability of the test wells at the irrigation field to produce any numbers. Board member Elmer Conway said the 18-foot deep test wells have always been dry. Stearns said he understood DNR wanted a way to measure nitrates filtering into the water table. The test wells may have to be deepened until water was reached for a test. Board member Brian Paynter suggested that the water table around the lagoon may have dropped over time, making what had been a viable test site useless.

The village was given 90 days by DNR to respond to concerns. Mayor Mike Ortwein received agreement to ask the village's engineering firm, Simmons, to assess the situation and provide a recommendation.

Ortwein said Stearns has been busy clearing woody vegetation around the lagoon. The berm would be kept clear in the future, Stearns added.

Ortwein said the alarm on the lagoon had not worked since the 2007 ice storm. The alarm at the main lift station did not work either. Board members agreed to Stearns' recommendation to get both alarms functioning again.

Administrative action

Property and liability insurance for the village is due for renewal, according to Clerk Deborah Schoen. A quote from Savers Property and Casualty, the current carrier arranged through broker Tilley and Company, cost $4,529. Most numbers were the same, Schoen said. Coverage for Marshal Kevin Davis rose by $600 since he was no longer getting blanket insurance as a county employee.

Board members renewed the insurance policy. They agreed to drop the recommended terrorism insurance for an additional $7, considering Freistatt a low risk for an attack.

Stearns provided a rundown on water meters that could not be read, most of which are on unoccupied houses. The board directed Stearns to act replace water meters a new tenant was coming and to dig up others as chronic problems.

Board members agreed to advertise for a new city attorney since Don Trotter's services would not be available after the end of December when he becomes the Lawrence County prosecutor.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Nov. 11 at the community building.

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