Sewage leak latest issue at county jail

Sewage water was dripping down from the top floor where the prisoners are housed down to the offices in the Marion County Jail Monday, and the county commissioners went to look at the repeating problem first-hand.

They confirmed what Michele Abbot, communications and emergency management director, had just told them in their meeting, that despite previous attempts to have the problem repaired, the water with an odor again was soiling carpet and contributing to wood rot.

The commissioners told Sheriff Lee Becker to have the problem fixed, even though it might involve running some new lines.

Becker said the jail had 17 inmates Monday with an average population of 12 prisoners this year, and an official jail capacity for 11 people.

The commissioners agreed that repairs on the jail are unrelated to the question to voters in the November election on whether to build a new jail or not. They said the old jail needs to be kept in good repair regardless of what happens in November.

County Clerk Carol Maggard said Bond Counsel David Arteberry had called advising that the election question could be composed as one question, whether to approve a 1 percent sales tax to finance bond for the proposed community corrections center.

Commissioner Dan Holub said the commission also needs to have voters understand that the sales tax would expire when the bonds would be paid in full.

?The tax goes away when the bond goes away,? Holub said.

According to figures requested from Maggard by the Free Press, expenditures for building a new law enforcement center to date have been $9,480.10 paid to Law/Kingdon of Wichita and $41,093.19 paid to BG Consultants of Manhattan. Both bills were for planning and architecture.

Maggard said there has been correspondences through the last week between Jack Chappelle, consulting engineer on the old Marion County landfill southwest of Marion, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment concerning whether a contaminating chemical found in one monitoring well requires a retest, or whether it can wait until the next routine monitoring.

Marty Kowalski, mill supply manager at Hutchinson for Sonoco, brought a paper recycling proposal to the commission that at today?s rates would have Sonoco paying Marion County $50 to $60 a ton for cardboard and newspapers, and $35 to $40 a ton for other paper.

He said that in the company?s interest of ensuring paper supplies, it would lease the county a cardboard baling machine for $1 a year, and provide 4 x 4-foot boxes for stockpiling other paper.

The only other county expenses for obtaining the baling machine, Kowalski said, would be paying shipping charges from Georgia, and providing certification of insurance for loss of the machine.

Rollin Schmidt, transfer station, noxious weed and household hazardous waste director, has been searching for recycling alternatives that might lower county costs for transporting and dumping solid waste to the landfill at Perry northeast of Topeka.

Kowalski said there is no way to predetermine the number of tons of paper to come from Marion County, but from counties of 2,500 to 3,000 population surrounding his company?s collection point at Colby, the average total per county is about 100 tons a year.

?I think you?ll be surprised at how much it is,? Kowalski said.

He said part of the recycled cardboard goes into containers for companies like Pringle?s potato chips and Quaker Oatmeal. The lowest price paper includes magazines, telephone books, shredded personal papers, junk mail and other slick paper, he said.

Schmidt confirmed there is room for the baling machine on the transfer station dumping floor, and for storage of bales and boxes in the next bay.

Kowalski said Sonoco would provide trucks and transportation to pick up the paper.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said the county would need to determine its methods for movement of paper through the transfer station, perhaps opening previously walled-off area.

He asked Kowalski, for paper intermingled with other trash that could be separated out, ?how dirty do you take it??

Kowalski said the company has standards and practices it has to meet that might eliminate waxed paper or paper with contaminates such as hydraulic oil or blood.

?There?s very little waxed paper any more though,? he said.

Commission Chairman Bob Hein said, ?It sounds very good to me.?

The commissioners agreed they would have to assess procedures and how any expenses above paper receipts might be collected.

Schmidt said in a letter received from Stutzman Refuse Disposal Inc., there is no income like the offer from Sunoco. Stutzman instead has standard charges for picking up recyclable wastes of $2.50 per household in cities, and $6.50 per month in rural areas.

Schmidt said the Stutzman collection also includes plastics, glass and metals.

Kowalski said Sonoco collects from nearly all of Western Kansas plus many other Kansas sites.

Schmidt said there is a possibility for selling materials with Morris County contributing, too.

Schmidt said Marion County also has another income source of collecting $40 a ton for acceptance of commercial and demolition wastes. The county also assesses homes and businesses for the transfer station disposal.

For the year, Schmidt said the transfer station has disposed of 4,342 tons of solid waste through June, roughly a little higher compared to the 7,900 tons collected last year.

Total waste tonnage for June was 884 tons including 537 tons of municipal solid waste, 347 tons of C&D waste and .45 ton of tires.

The commissioners agreed with Schmidt that a fee should be paid from his department to road and bridge for the latter?s hauling of some solid waste loads to Perry.

The commissioners awarded a noxious weed herbicide bid of $14,976 from Ag Service over a bid of $15,912 from Markley Service for 1,440 gallons of 2,4-D amine.

Peggy Blackman, coordinator for the WRAPS program attempting to slow sedimentation of Marion Reservoir, told the commissioners that without the county?s $75,200 contribution last year, none of the preliminary assessment to slow problems would have been done.

She asked the commissioners in budgeting to consider a contribution of $30,000 to maintain monitoring at the reservoir, and ?I will take responsibility for raising the rest.?

She said she is concerned that much of future funding may be required to go through service providing agencies that will take a cut themselves to cover their own overheads rather than her program being able to pay its own bills.

Blackman said the program did manage to fund $88,360 in best management practices for producers with highly erodible land above the reservoir last year.

She said bank erosion continues to be a big problem with stakes set four feet away from the water in some places now in the water because banks were washed away by actions of wind, waves and ice.

The shorelines may need additional stabilization with rip rap or other measures, Blackman said. She also has observed crops planted that by harvest had outer rows falling into the reservoir despite glass erosion strips.

Hein asked Abbott to bring in cost estimates for a third call station in the communications center.

Abbott said she has already has been approved for grant money on the station that could be used for training or during more extensive emergencies. She could lose the grant money, she said, and increase doubts for future grant money if the commissioners don?t follow through on their plans for the third station.

Members of the Margaret Jirak family met with the commissioners to discuss disposition of a 1.03-acre tract the county has held under contract from the family for a gravel dump on the Durham-Lincolnville Road since 1959.

The family requests a rock cover for parking machinery because they say road and bridge actions in tearing up an asphalt cover will make removal of rubble and soil restoration?hauling in topsoil?too expensive for the county.

The commissioners promised to visit the site to make a determination.

More from Hillsboro Free Press
Back to the hardwoods
Tabor College hosts its annual hoops Classic Tena Loewen (32) looks to...
Read More