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JASPER COUNTY PROPOSES BOND TO REDUCE ZINC WATER LEVELS - KOAM TV 7

JASPER COUNTY PROPOSES BOND TO REDUCE ZINC WATER LEVELS

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After years of work, zinc levels in Jasper County waste water are still extremely high.

“Zinc in the water contributes to certain problems with the fish, with frogs, it can affect the life cycle of aquatic animals. And that's why we're trying to control what's going into there,” says Center Creek Wastewater & Treatment Plant Manager William Runkle.

In response to new demands by the Department of Natural Resources the county has put forth a bond proposal to pay for crucial water treatment upgrades to remove the zinc.

“It will save the citizens 50% of the cost of these upgrades. These upgrades will be done. I mean there's no doubt that down the road these updates will have to be done,” says Webb City Manager Carl Francis.

The county hopes voters will pass the bond February 3rd because it will qualify for matching funds of equal value.

“If we don't get the bond, we won't get the grant. And we're going to have to pay for all of it out of pocket ourselves," says Runkle.

Those upgrades include replacing expensive pumps, a new bar screen, and to fund a more efficient sludge transport system.

The sludge produced by the plant must be transported to a hazardous waste site in Lamar, but city leaders have come up with a greener and cost efficient plan to get rid of it.

One day officials hope to turn this massive pit of sludge into compost, and recycle it back into the environment.

Once the muddy mixture is combined with donated tree limbs it can be turned into fertilizer.

“We intend to use that to help reclaim a lot of the mine lands that's being restored right now,” says Runkle.

“We're buying property right now. We're buying approximately 1,200 acres. We're in the process right now of attempting to purchase land to create a habitat." 


Residents of Carterville, Oronogo and Webb City will vote on this bond. 


Webb city plans to pay its portion of the bond by adjusting its sewer-user rate. Customers would see their bill go up by an average of $1.77.


In Webb City, Diane Gerstenfeld KOAM NEWS

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