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Aldermen to consider groundwater monitoring well request at fire station

It’s not unusual for gasoline tanks under gas stations to leak and contaminate the surrounding soil.

The old Rhodes 101 gas station that sat across from Jackson Fire Station No. 1 (and the police station) at the intersection of Highways 25, 61 and 72 is gone. The underground gasoline tanks have been removed. But contamination remains.

Joe Leahy of Smith & Co. Engineers appeared before the Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen in study session April 1 to ask permission to sink a groundwater monitoring well on the fire station property across Highway 72 from the former Rhodes 101 location.

Several groundwater monitoring wells have already been in operation on the property. This one will determine if any contamination is moving north toward the fire station.

So far, all indications are that any contamination has moved east. Groundwater under the station flows east toward the creek, and it is not expected that the proposed well on fire station property will find any contaminants.

“This is a delineation well to verify that the gas station has not impacted your property,” Leahy said. “It’s contaminated on the gas station side. This will let us know if contamination crossed the street.”

The well must be drilled away from overhead power lines. It will be 2 inches in diameter, and about 25 feet deep. The top of the well will be flush with the ground and be surrounded by a concrete collar.

The groundwater monitoring wells will continue to be checked every three months for the next two to five years. Results of testing are sent to the Department of Natural Resources. If any issues are found, the City will be notified. The goal is to get a declaration of “no further action” so the property can be redeveloped. That will take a minimum of two years, Leahy predicted.

The Board could not approve the well request during study session; the matter will come up for a vote at the April 15 meeting.

In other action:

• Design-build: The Board amended Chapter 3 of the Code of Ordinances to include design-build projects.

• First Call for Help: The Board approved spending $1,000 to support First Call for Help of Southeast Missouri. First Call for Help is a free information and referral program about social services in Southeast Missouri. People who need help but don’t know where to go can call 573-334-HELP (4357) or toll free 866-914-4357 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Cemetery replat: The Board approved the removal of certain unused cemetery plots south of Heliotrope Way from the plat of the City. That section of the cemetery will be used for temporary parking during construction of the new police station just south of the cemetery.

• West Jefferson Street abandonment: In study session, Alderman David Reiminger said a resident complained about an undeveloped alleyway that ran next to his property. Although on paper, it’s indicated as a street, it has no city utilities and is just a grassy area. Some people have driven on it, causing ruts. The resident wondered if it could be abandoned so he could use it as part of his yard. Or else, the City could maintain it as a road. The resident did not want to maintain it and fill in the ruts.

City Administrator Jim Roach said the City is hesitant to abandon “paper streets” because they might be needed in the future. On the other hand, the City does not maintain paper streets.

If the resident wants it abandoned by the City, he needs to write a formal letter stating his request, Roach said. Then the Board of Aldermen would consider it.

In the meantime, it’s possible for the resident to complain to the police about drivers putting ruts in the area. The police would take his statement as a witness and charge the driver with damage to city property in much the same way that it happens if someone drives through the City Park and causes ruts.

• Holiday Extravaganza lights: Shane Anderson, parks and recreation director, reported to the Board that his department was going to bid out the process of putting up, taking down and storing the lights for the Holiday Extravaganza of Lights program at City Park. The contract would be for three years.

The project involves lights on 110 trees, 20 poles, the pedestrian bridge and Shelter No. 1. The contract allows for more lights to be added in the future, if the City so chooses.

Bids will be opened April 30 and awarded May 4.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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