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Hazardous material leaks into city sewer

At about 7:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 21, Jackson city officials were notified by Midwest Sterilization that a hazardous material, ethylene glycol, had leaked into the city’s sanitary sewer system. It did not get into the storm sewer system or the atmosphere.

In a report to the Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen that evening, Public Works Director Janet Sanders said, “It had been leaking for about 12 hours. They did not know the quantity that got into the sewer at that point [when the call was made].”

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources was called by both Kenny Gibbar, foreman of the Wastewater Utilities Department, and Jackson Fire Rescue.

The Fire Department’s Haz-Mat unit joined city wastewater staff in efforts to contain the leaking material. The Fire Department flushed the sewer main from Midwest Sterilization to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Gibbar made plans to research the digester to see if more microorganisms (“good bugs”) were needed to digest the sewage at the water treatment plant.

“Everybody did what they could to mitigate it,” Sanders reported.

A second emergency project reported by Sanders was a 10-inch water main break that had happened earlier that afternoon near Route D and Strawberry Lane. It affected only one customer. Some valves were switched as a temporary fix, but an outside contractor will need to be called in to make the repair. The break did not occur under Route D, so Mo-DOT will not be involved.

• Tax rates: No one from the public spoke at a public hearing held by the Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen Aug. 21 to consider the proposed 2023 Parks and Recreation, General Revenue, Cemetery and Band Tax rates.

Later in the meeting, the proposed rates were approved.

The money needed to be raised by taxation during the next fiscal year is $1,726,355 for the general fund, $223,015 for cemetery purposes, $362,161 for city Parks and Recreation, and $223,015 for the band.

The total of all assessed valuation of property in Jackson is $292,301,474. The total tax rate was thus set at $0.8671 per $100 valuation.

In other action

• Abandonment of East Jefferson for Immaculate Conception: The aldermen approved an addendum to the contract with the Roman Catholic Church Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau to give a time extension for the abandonment of East Jefferson Street between South Hope Street and Ohio Street on the campus of Immaculate Conception Church and school. The agreement now gives the church seven years to begin construction on a new church building before the agreement would expire.

The church is experiencing some delays in construction due to rising costs of materials following the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Tow companies: The aldermen authorized city staff to prepare a text amendment to the zoning code defining tow companies and establishing in what districts they are allowed.

• Attached or painted signs: City staff was also authorized to prepare a text amendment to the Code of Ordinances that will do away with special use permits for attached or painted signs over 50 square feet, and will come up with a standard comparable to other cities.

• Depository: The mayor was authorized to sign a depository agreement with First Midwest Bank.

• Mutual settlement: A mutual settlement and release agreement between the City of Jackson and resident Dylan Peetz was authorized.

• Scrivener’s error on a bill: A bill was passed that corrected a scrivener’s error in a previous bill that discussed water service line specifications and the fee schedule.

• Plat approved: The preliminary plat of Jackson North Industrial Park Subdivision was given its annual approval.

• Brookside Park roofs: The aldermen terminated a contract with Daniel’s Roofing and Construction, LLC, of Marble Hill, dated Sept. 19, 2022, for reroofing the Brookside Park restroom and pavilion, after the company informed the City that it could not provide sufficient insurance coverage.

• Mowing Soccer Park: The aldermen approved an addendum to the contract with Rockhill & Sons Lawn Care of Jackson, to reduce the price from $355 to $315 per mowing and trimming, and reducing the acreage from 35 to 32.61 acres for the Soccer Park. (The new soccer fields 12 and 13 must be mowed under different specifications than those included in the Rockhill contract, so they have been removed from the contract.)

• Road striping: The aldermen accepted the $39,782.25 bid from Road Runner Safety Services, Inc., of Jackson, and authorized a contract to stripe Greensferry Road and Main Street.

• Culvert replacement: The aldermen accepted the $25,800 bid from Steve’s Hauling & Excavating of Oak Ridge and authorized a contract for work on the Old Cape Road East Culvert Replacement Project

• Tiny houses: The aldermen approved a text amendment to Chapter 65 (Zoning) of the Code of Ordinances, creating an exemption for tiny Houses constructed before Aug. 8, 2023.

This protects owners of homes currently less that 600 square feet from needing a variance to restore their home if they have damage that is more than 65% of their value.

• Special event at Elks: Alicha Young and Kim Anello, representatives from the Jackson Elks, informed the aldermen that they plan to hold a special event to raise funds for Brian Meier, who is suffering from terminal brain cancer. The event will be held outdoors with a live band Saturday, Oct. 14. A large crowd is expected, creating a need for overflow parking, and the band is expected to play late into the night. They were asking for guidance from the aldermen on what permits they will need. They were directed to work with Rodney Bollinger, administrative services director for the City, as he handles special event requests.

• Jason Lipe reported on the Aug. 14 Park Board meeting. Work continues on improvements to the municipal pool, which has now concluded its “successful 47th season,” he said. Old basketball goals in the parks were “popped out” using cranes and new ones will be installed. Fencing replacement has been completed. Engineering work is being done for a new restroom at Litz Park.

The city’s webpage has been updated, making it possible to make reservations for ball fields, Civic Center, etc., without having to come to the Civic Center to do that. And an Eagle Scout installed four benches in Litz Park.

• Dana Drive and Nicole Lane: Melissa Miller came before the Board of Aldermen to report there had been a tragic accident two weeks ago at Dana Drive and Nicole Lane. The accident shook up the close-knit, active subdivision, which likes to get out and walk. A request was made to add a stop sign at that intersection and to lower the speed limit from 20 to 10 mph.

City Administrator James Roach said the Police Department and Public Works Department will look into the situation and make a recommendation. “We hate that the situation happened, and we will review it,” he said.

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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