Hallsville facing sewage violations

Thursday, November 4, 2010 | 5:34 p.m. CDT

HALLSVILLE — The city of Hallsville has been cited by the state for “continuous” sewage-related violations under the state Clean Water Law.

The state Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday announced it was referring the violations of Hallville’s “no-discharge land application system and its collection system” to the Missouri attorney general.

Department inspectors observed unauthorized discharges of waste water from an emergency outfall into Kelley Branch, according to the release. The lagoon is used to store sewage until it can be applied to land for absorption.

For 17 months since February 2009, Hallsville reported discharges to the Kelley Branch in amounts that ranged from a monthly average of 257,800 to 407,547 gallons per day, said Renee Bungart of the Department of Natural Resources.

The land application system is located near Route U and Highway 124.

Other violations included failure to “submit complete and timely annual operations reports, discharge monitoring reports and inflow and infiltration reports,” according to the release.

These monthly reports have not been filed since 2009, Bungart said.

Hallsville’s waste-water facility also exceeded permitted limits for ammonia on “several occasions” since May 2009, according to the release.

Hallsville reported eight months since February 2009 where ammonia levels exceeded its permit limits.

Bungart said the department gives violators time to come into compliance with state standards. “If we’re not seeing compliance, then we send the case to the attorney general,” she said.

“No environmental damage is being claimed,” Hallsville Mayor Ben Austene said on Thursday.

“There was no fish kill, so the Department of Conservation was not contacted,” Bungart said.

Austene declined to comment further until the city discussed the alleged violations at a City Council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.


This appeared on ColumbiaMissourian.com on Nov. 4. Here’s a link to the story.

I wrote this story during my general assignment shift. Initially, I had difficulty getting a hold of the stakeholders for the story. No one seemed to have any information for me. This was the first time I experienced a source declining further comment.

I was going through the story with my editor when one of my sources called me with great information: specific numbers about the violations. My editor was ready to go with what we had, but I’m glad we didn’t.

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