CHARLESTON - While Missouri Department of Natural Resources officials insist on meticulous testing before closing out the Mississippi County Airport's fuel tank removal, they don't seem to be in too much of a hurry.
County commissioners reviewed a letter during their regular meeting Thursday from Frederick J. Hutson, remediation unit chief at DNR, addressed to County Clerk Junior DeLay.
The letter, dated Feb. 25, advises on Aug. 4, 2003, DNR officials received the county's summary report conducted by Smith and Company Engineers and offers an apology for the delay in responding.
An analysis of groundwater samples indicates concentrations of contaminants that exceed published cleanup standards, the letter advises. The letter also gives approval for the report's recommendation that three groundwater monitoring wells be installed but with one condition: the addition of a fourth well.
County officials recalled the cost estimate for three wells was around $8,600 and speculated the additional well will drive up the price by another couple thousand dollars or so.
Commissioner Homer Oliver asked how often they monitor the wells. "Maybe once per year?" he asked.
"It's just a hassle right here," said Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg.
"It costs $200 per water sample," DeLay said.
Commissioners noted a copy of the letter was also sent to Sam Smith of Smith and Company Engineers.
"We'll just wait until we hear from him, see what he says," Blumenberg said.
In other Mississippi County news:
* Blumenberg said Richard Wallace, county road and bridge superintendent, reported the price on a used pneumatic rubber-tired roller the county was considering purchasing had dropped from $10,000 to $7,500.
Commissioners agreed to make the purchase, which is the last piece of equipment needed by the county to implement a chip-and-seal blacktop process.
* Commissioners discussed road problems around the county.
Oliver said there are many roads with drainage issues that need to be addressed. Commissioners also discussed gravel road conditions in general.
Lucas said graders are essentially creating "double ditches" alongside the roads and need to pull the shoulders back up and crown the roads.
While reshaping the roads would take some gravel, commissioners agreed it would actually save gravel in the long run as less would wash away during rains.
* Rising steel prices will mean a price hike in ditch and road maintenance.
"Culverts have gone up 40 percent in the last few weeks," Blumenberg said.
Lucas said it is because the United States is now importing steel instead of producing it, with only one steel mill left in the country. "It's all coming from China now," he said.
Oliver said the increase in steel prices also explains why it is more difficult to find the railroad flat cars the county had used to make bridges. "They'll just scrap them out," he said.
* Commissioners will need to see what roads the county should spend its money on, as they intend to spend the $40,000 budgeted and then stop, Blumenberg said.
As in previous years, the county will "do the worst ones first," Oliver said and suggested focusing efforts on heavily-traveled roads.
Blumenberg said prioritizing road work will be even more important that usual this year.
Commissioners also discussed trying out their new chip-and-seal method on a subdivision road to see how it works.
Roads maintained last year are holding up well, according to commissioners. Sealing oil on Miller Road was so effective that residents are requesting centerline and border stripes for it, according to Lucas. "You know that road's real good when they ask for stripes," he said.