In its last meeting before Thanksgiving, the St. Louis City Council received an update on progress with the Velsicol chemical plant cleanup from Matt Baltusis, the state Department of Environmental Quality project manager.
The multimillion-dollar Environmental Protection Agency project involves heating the ground to a depth of 30 feet to aerosolize contaminants. The gases are then collected for later disposal. The operation is expected to begin in January.
Addressing concerns that contaminants could escape and harm citizens in the event of an unexpected shutdown, Baltusis said, “Nothing would escape that would be of any consequence.” Three operators will be nearby during the nine-month process to respond in the event of an unexpected problem.
“I really believe in this technology, Baltusis said, adding that “we may need to hire a security guard (to watch the site at night). That has been discussed.”
Council also discussed the possibility of a recreational marijuana ballot initiative that looks like it will be up for a vote in November 2018. To a person, they all seemed to oppose legalization. Police Chief Rich Ramereiz said there would likely be ancillary issues such as Colorado has faced since recreational marijuana was legalized there in 2012. “Everything starts rearing its ugly head,” he said. “All the things that come with it.”
Read about the problems in Colorado here:
City Manager Kurt Giles told council that electrical service to new water wells in Arcada Township is expected to be hooked up next week. The wells are part of the joint Alma/St. Louis water system. Water from those wells will go directly to the water plant in Alma. Existing wells in the St. Louis city limits will be shut down and dismantled at federal government expense.
City council also approved its meeting schedule for 2018. Council will continue to meet at 6 p.m. on first and third Tuesday’s of each month (with two or three exceptions).
Mayor Pro-Tem Melissa Allen praised the recent cemetery reports, calling them “very nice and readable.”