Lanagan Sued By State For Water Violations
Thursday, June 21, 2012
McDONALD COUNTY Through an agreement with the Missouri Attorney General’s o◊ce, on behalf of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the city of Lanagan is required to hook up to the city of Anderson’s water supply to help alleviate radionuclide contamination woes it has faced since 2009.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a petition for injunction and civil penalties against the city June 13 for violation of the Missouri Safe Drinking Water Law. There were four separate counts included in the injunction.
Circuit Judge Timothy Perigo signed a consent judgment between the city and the state Tuesday. It not only lays out a compliance schedule for hiring an engineer, contracting the work to hook up to Anderson and reporting on its completion, but also notes the suspension of all but $1,457 of a $14,570 civil penalty; the city’s part is due to the state within 30 days of the entry of the consent judgment. Lanagan is alsorequired to submit $1,291.26 in overdue primacy fees within the same time period.
The agreement was in negotiation for months between Lanagan’sCity Attorney, William G. Weber, the city council and the two state agencies.
All that remains is for the city to come up with the money to pay for the project - and that won’t be easy.
Lanagan has been strapped for money almost constantly over the last few years, with its only income brought in by two tiny sales taxes, water department fees and municipal court. That latter income has been deterred lately because the city’s police chief and only o◊cer have been charged with forgery in connection with the way they filled out ticket forms.
The idea of hooking up to Anderson to dilute Lanagan’s water supply, thereby causing the radionuclide levels to fall into line, was talked about for some time, but Lanagan never moved on it.Finances, or actually the lack of them, was a major cause in not proceeding with the project, which called for the installation of a new water tank and some lift stations between the two cities.
Talk of the proposal had been absent for so long, that the consent judgment was a surprise to Anderson Mayor John Sellers when told of it Tuesday.
“They haven’t spoken to us at all about that, so I thought they were just going to go on their own in Lanagan,” Sellers said.
Progress Under Way
City Attorney Weber says an engineer has already been hired and that Christina Hartley of the Midwest Assistance Program is helping to fi nd fi nancing.
“That’s the proposal and that’s where we’re going with it,” Weber said. “We’ve been told there is fi nancing that may be available.”
He said if the city is going to have to pay without help from governmental agencies, that would present a huge problem, but Weber praised the e◊orts of the city council.
“They were all familiar with the consent judgment before it was signed,” Weber said. “The problem is as it’s always been, it’s the money. If they had the money … they’d get things done. There’s a good bunch there. There are some really good people in Lanagan that would like to see this city survive.” More Stuff
General allegations in the original petition for injunction included not only the failure to meet radionuclide contaminant levels, but also three other counts - failure to monitor for microbiological contaminants, failure to meet microbiological contaminant levels and failure to pay primacy fees.
The penalties came about through levies of $50 per day for a fi rst violation and $100 per day for a second andeach violation thereafter.
The compliance schedule, agreed upon by all parties involved and signed by Lanagan Mayor Mary Beaver and representatives from both state agencies, is as follows:
◊within 90 calendar days of execution of the consent judgment, two copies of a preliminary engineering report is due to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources;
◊within 180 days, a final copy of the engineering report is due; it should examine, to the department’s satisfaction, a permanent connection tothe city of Anderson for the radionuclide problem and other water system improvements necessary for that connection; if the department has other concerns, the city’s engineer is required to answer them within another 30 days;
◊within 120 calendar days of department approval of the engineering report, Lanagan should submit an application for a construction permit plus two copies of engineering plans and specifications for the project; information on changes requested by the department’s Public Drinking Water Branch should behandled within another 30 days;
◊within 180 days of the above approval, Lanagan is to begin construction of the connection to Anderson;
◊within 21 calendar days of completion of the connection, Lanagan is to submit certifi cation of same to the state.
The city is also required to maintain, for five years, all documents to do with the project and is to instruct contractors and their agents to do the same. They are also required to give the state 90 days notice before any of the records are destroyed.
News, Pages 1 on 06/21/2012