By MARK EVANS
Like the narrator in Web Pierce’s 1955 honky-tonk hit, anyone caught dumping grease or other waste illegally into the Bloomsdale sewer system may find themselves “In the Jailhouse Now.”
Near the end of the Nov. 9 Bloomsdale Board of Aldermen meeting, Ward 1 Alderman John Schweigert reported that he had received a call that a truck was observed dumping grease into the city’s wastewater system on St. Agnes Drive.
“Two times a septic system truck backed up to a man hole cover,” he said, and was seen emptying grease into it.
“The guy called me the next morning,” Schweigert said. “He actually had something on Facebook, on Bloomsdale 411, asking who you contact about this.”
The caller told Schweigert a truck deposited grease into the man hole twice in one night;
“We spent a ton of money two places,” Mayor Paul Monia said. “We had to get it pushed out to the treatment plant and then we destroyed the treatment plant once we got it there.”
He asked whether city attorney Mark Bishop had gotten back with city clerk Lynnette Randoll concerning the situation.
“I would like to put a $10,000 fine against somebody caught doing that,” Monia said.
Randoll told Monia that Bishop had emailed her back regarding the legality of passing an ordinance putting a hefty penalty in effect.
“He said, ‘Generally the statutory limit for an ordinance violation is up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine up to $500,’” Randoll replied.
It does not appear any current city ordinances would cover this situation.
Bishop told Randoll that the city could sue individuals for damages, but that would be expensive and time-consuming.
“A more compelling deterrent would be to pass an ordinance authorizing the penalty range above and threatening them with some jail time,” Bishop told Randoll. “Once the ordinance is passed, we can prosecute ordinance violators in the associate circuit court of Ste. Genevieve County. To do so, I would just need you to catch the individuals dumping and get their names, addresses and dates of birth. I’m expecting that you would have to call in a sheriff’s deputy to write a report to that affect so I could use that as the basis of the ordinance violation that I would file with the court.”
If the culprit wanted to avoid going to jail, he could agree to pay the cost of remediation, Bishop noted.
The aldermen agreed that they will work with Bishop to draft such an ordinance.
COCHRAN REPS SAY PROJECT ON SCHEDULE
David Van Leer and T.J. Garbs of Cochran Engineering were again in attendance. They reported that things are running on schedule for the $1.9 million water project the firm will be doing for the city.
They brought copies of the project manual and plans for contractors wanting to bid on the project.
“Not a lot has changed,” Garbs said. “We have about 30 percent of the distribution design work done at this point.”
“We still plan on releasing the plans to the contractors on Jan. 12,” Garbs said. “The schedule hasn’t changed since the last time we discussed it. We’re still working through everything.”
He said the plans for the tank itself were released for contractors on Nov. 1, as planned.
Meanwhile, a pre-bid meeting with interested contractors will be held Nov. 18 at the city hall.
“We sent invitation to bid to various contractors,” Garbs said, “mostly in the area. They can come and ask us questions on that day.”