Barton County Office Buildings will be closed Wednesday in observance of the New Year’s holiday. The Records Division of the Sheriff’s Office, the Health Department and the Landfill will be closed at this same time. Emergency services will be in normal operation.
In an agreement with state health officials, county crews will clean up illegal trash dump sites in lieu of paying a fine for minor infractions at the Barton County Landfill. The Barton County Commission signed off on the deal when it met Monday morning.
In May, the Solid Waste Management Department was cited by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Waste Management for a violation at the household waste cite. There were also some bookkeeping issues.
As a result, the state fined the county $8,000. However, “we were able to negotiate a consent agreement,” said County Administrator Richard Boeckman.
This involves the remediation of nine illegal dump sites across the county. The total estimated cost for this work is $10,571, with the cost of each site ranging from $5,000 to $300.
As a gesture of good faith, Boeckman said he wanted the cost of the clean-up effort to exceed the cost of the fine. Where as the fine only benefited the state, this work also helps the county.
Boeckman said KDHE actually prefers such “Supplement Environmental Projects.”
At the time of their first visit, state inspectors noted there was no evidence that pumps used to remove water were functioning.
According to the BWM, These landfills sit atop a layer of compacted soil beneath a dense plastic liner. Although pretty impermeable, water can squeeze through into the groundwater.
So, federal law requires that there be no more than 12 inches of water standing in such sites. More water creates more pressure which can force moisture through the barrier.
There is some leeway and a few more inches won’t make that much difference, the BWM reported. But, officials had to set a standard.
A subsequent inspection found that all the problems had been corrected and there were no lingering affects of the violations.
Solid Waste Manger Mark Witt and Environmental Manager Judy Goreham were also involved in the project.
“I think this is a great solution,” Commission Chairman Don Cates said.
In other business Monday Morning, the Barton County Commission:
• Approved a 25-cent-per-hour pay increase for most county employees. The 2014 Barton County Operating Budget was adopted with the raise in mind. Included in the raise are elected officials and county commissioners.
• Approved Emergency/Risk Manager Amy Miller for a two-year term as the county representative on the South Central Regional Council for Homeland Security. The council is one of seven regional councils in Kansas and includes 19 counties. It supports statewide all-hazard preparedness, and helps divvy up Homeland Security grant funds. In the past, these funds have helped establish a 911 backup center at Hutchinson, and purchase bomb equipment and emergency trailers. Miller has served since 2006.
• Appointed Cates, Miller, local Red Cross volutneer Don Halbower, Ellinwood Fire Chief Chris Komarek, Sunflower Diversified Services Sarah Krom, county Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips, Witt and Great Bend Municipal Airport Manager Martin Miller to the Barton County Local Emergency Planning Committee. LEPC is comprised of representatives from the following groups: state/local officials; law enforcement; firefighting; emergency management; health; hospital; broadcast media and/or communications media; transportation; local environmental group; community service/civic group; emergency medical services; and facilities/industries regulated by SARA Title III. Miller said the names will be forwarded to the statewide organization.
• Approved a rezoning request from Jerry Wirtz for a portion of his 166.4 acre parcel located south and slightly east of the Dartmouth Elevator between Great Bend and Ellinwood. The area to be rezoned is a tract of approximately 3.6 acres being a part of 675 East Barton County Road. On Dec. 10, the Barton County Planning Commission unanimously recommended the reclassification from agricultural district to light manufacturing – service commercial district, Goreham said the change was requested so Wirtz’s son Ryan could expand his business, Outlaw Tank Service, located on the land.