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Farmington adopts pollution control ordinance

FARMINGTON — As council members debated issues in the basement of city hall Thursday evening you could hear the sound of footsteps on the ceiling, but it wasn’t eight tiny reindeer making all the noise. It was an enthusiastic crowd of nightly visitors to Winter Wonderland upstairs at Long Memorial Hall which forced the officials to take their business downstairs for the time being.

As in previous years, the city council will meet in the basement of city hall during the month of December, including Thursday evening’s monthly work session, to allow residents a chance to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the popular Winter Wonderland display. Councilman Mark Kellogg made reference to the popular holiday display while giving a Public Service Committee report at Thursday’s meeting.

In other reports, it was announced that the city has officially adopted a stretch of Maple Hills Drive leading west from U.S. 67 to an area just past the city water tower. Councilman Larry Forsythe said the city will place the stretch of street on the annual repaving calendar starting in 2010. At that point the condition of the street will be assessed as compared to other repaving work needed across the community, and the work will be put on the docket for completion when possible.

City Administrator Greg Beavers added that while the city will take over maintenance on the stretch of steep roadway, snow removal will be done only when deemed safe to city workers and equipment. The stretch of street is extremely steep and treacherous during inclement weather.

While giving his Public Works Committee report, Councilman Forsythe reported that city water customers will be receiving a second notice in the mail regarding a bad water sample taken in recent weeks. The errant sample was taken from an area near the water tower adjacent to Mineral Area Regional Medical Center. It’s believed the problem stems from recent trouble with a new water filtration system installed at the base of the water tower.

“This is a minor, minor, minor (problem),” Forsythe said of the errant sample. Still, the city is required to notify water customers when a random sample shows any form of contamination outside pre-set guidelines adopted by the state. A sample taken several weeks ago showed a slight presence of coliform contamination. It’s unclear at this point if the faulty samples were the result of some minuscule contamination at the testing location, or a result of the problems with the new filtration system.

Forsythe reiterated that the faulty samples does “not” warrant a serious problem with the public water system. The mailed responses are simply a requirement of the state agency governing public potable water systems.

Reports complete, talk turned to approving legislation — which didn’t take long with only three bills on the docket.

The council gave full approval to adopting an ordinance placing some control on excessive pollutant emissions from mechanically — or electronically — altered diesel engines. The problem, it was reported at last month’s council meeting, is primarily modified diesel pickup trucks. It was said a problem has developed with drivers, usually younger drivers, abusing modifications available for diesel trucks which result in an excessive discharge of black soot from the exhaust.

Under the new bill as approved, officers can issue citations for excessive exhaust emissions similar to the type violation which would be issued for careless or imprudent driving. The charge can come from either an officer witnessing an incident, or a citizen filing a written complaint.

The council completed the evening by approving two contracts with individuals for meter reading services. The city administrator explained that Brian Flannigan and Steve Laird have contracted with the city for several years to read meters, The two bills up for a vote would extend that contracted service for an additional three years.

Beavers said utilizing contracted help for the meter reading services is a highly-cost-effective measure for the city. The two men are responsible for reading water and electric meters.

Doug Smith is a reporter for the Daily Journal. You can reach him at 573-756-8927, or at

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