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Officials are looking for alternative to grinder

Friday, April 23, 2004

CHARLESTON - Mississippi County commissioners agreed to try using a catch basket before spending thousands of dollars on a grinder for sewage lines exiting the county's jail.

"We're at fault on some of that stuff over there," Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said during the commission's regular meeting Thursday regarding foreign matter in the city's sewage lines.

Blumenberg said there really isn't all that much stuff built up at the manhole outside the jail considering it has accumulated over a period of five years.

He suggested hanging a wire mesh basket to monitor what leaves the jail before taking any action. "We just want to see what is coming in there," Blumenberg said.

Commissioners said toothpaste tubes, which are about an inch and a half long, and toothbrushes from the jail should not cause a problem for city pumps, but discussed the possibility of an exchange system for prisoners to keep them from flushing used tubes down the toilet.

As prisoners don't get rubber gloves, county officials speculated any rubber glove parts must have been flushed by a member of the jail's staff.

Commissioners agreed there appears to be no place to put a grinder between the jail and the city sewer lines, except right on the sidewalk at the jail's entrance. They estimated the total cost of the grinder including installation could be around $25,000.

Alternatives discussed by commissioners included having sludge at the manhole regularly pumped out or putting in a larger, permanent catch basket to pull up and clean periodically.

In other county business:

* Commissioners approved a revised estimate from Sam Smith of Smith and Company for soil monitoring required by the Department of Natural Resources to close the file on the removal of the old fuel tanks at the county airport.

The cost for four groundwater monitoring wells with drilling costs will be about $13,197. It is possible, however, that measures costing $650 may not be needed and may be subtracted from that estimate.

The letter also advised that it appears contamination is only evident in the tanks' pit area and is not affecting the soil.

Commissioners said they intend to enroll the new fuel tanks at the airport in the Missouri Underground Storage Tank Insurance Fund program which covers the cost of addressing soil contamination from the tanks after a $10,000 deductible is satisfied.

* County Clerk Junior DeLay advised commissioners of $14,207 in non-competitive Homeland Security grant funding allotted to governments based on population.

The grant's application deadline is April 30.

DeLay said this grant should not affect the County Health Department's application for a Homeland Security grant. "There are different types," said DeLay, "several different types."

* Commissioners approved a gasoline bid of $1.485 per gallon and expressed concern over the rising price.

"It's gone up 20 cents since February," Blumenberg said.

Last June the gas bid accepted by commissioners was 99.9 cents per gallon. The price was at $1.139 in December when officials gathered figures for the 2004 budget.

* The county has received the 2001 car purchased used from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

The car has 48,000 miles on it and "is a pretty sharp car" that was probably used by a supervisor as it had no emergency light brackets, according to Blumenberg.

The county will next declare two of its existing older vehicles surplus and sell them off.

Blumenberg said a surplus vehicle business in Miami, Fla., may be a viable alternative if local bids don't come in as high as they hope.

* Commissioners discussed an illegal dump on Highway 407 near Whiting.

"Somebody is really dumping big time," said Blumenberg. Everything from "old junk and tires" to junked appliances are on the lot in addition to burned trailers, he said, and the mess is likely to attract rodents and snakes.

Blumenberg suggested removing the culvert at that lot to "cut the access off" for illegal dumpers.

* The trapper hired by the county to remove beavers from county ditches has caught 19 so far, according to Commissioner Homer Oliver.

"When he gets 20 beavers, we're going to pay him a little money," Oliver said. "He's still got a lot of territory to cover."

The county is paying $25 for each beaver caught.

* Commissioner Martin Lucas made some recommendations for additional blacktopping in the county.

"There's a couple places on Turnbo Road," he said. "It won't take much at all."

Blumenberg said the problem there appears to be just a couple of potholes. "The road is not bad," he agreed.

* Clarice D. Sundeen, team leader/community planner for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Memphis District, discussed services offered by the Corps as part of its community outreach program.

* Commissioners reviewed an invitation from the Mississippi County Health Department to attend an informational program on smallpox from 11 a.m. until noon Monday.