DNR raps Cole County for stormwater deficiencies

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says Cole County’s stormwater program is inadequate and changes need to be made.

At Wednesday’s Cole County Commission meeting, county engineer Eric Landwehr gave a summary of what DNR officials had told him.

DNR said the county must develop a way to have the public have a say in the development and oversight of a stormwater management plan.

They also said the county needs to adopt an illicit discharge ordinance, create an ordinance to address post construction runoff from new and redevelopment projects and create a stream buffer ordinance.

This affects unincorporated urbanized areas of the county such as the Westview Heights and Apache Flats area as well some areas along U.S. 54 south of Jefferson City.

Commissioners expressed their frustration with these developments and told Landwehr to get in touch with DNR and have a representative come to a commission meeting to explain more about what they believe needs to be done.

“We can’t get straight answers,” said Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger. “DNR says we have to come up with these ordinances. They’ll tell you what doesn’t work, but won’t say what to do if it doesn’t. We want a dead straight answer. We want to know what is required and what authority we have. We want to comply with the law, but I don’t think we have the authority to do some of these things because we have no county zoning and we are not a charter county. If there is a state statute that says we can, I’d like to see it.”

In other action, commissioners approved several agreements for public works projects.

They approved a professional engineering services contract with Central Missouri Professional Services for Lafayette Street/Dunklin Street intersection improvements. The $103,995 contract includes a traffic study to determine whether a roundabout or signal would be the best alternative. Commissioners were told that the signal could cost $20,000 less and there is some concern a roundabout would not function properly since there will be two signals at the ramps coming off of the new U.S. 50 at Lafayette Street interchange. Construction of the intersection will take place next summer in advance of the interchange project.

Commissioners also approved a professional engineering services agreement with Bartlett & West for $93,483 for the Vaughn Ford Road low water bridge replacement. The agreement includes design and construction inspection. Funding for the project comes through MoDOT and construction is expected to take place next summer.

Commissioners also approved transferring right-of-way from MoDOT to the county on Monticello Road and Moreau Ridge Road. While working on transferring a short piece of Monticello left after the J-turn project at this location last year it was found that all of Monticello and Moreau Ridge was never transferred back in the 1960s.

In other commission action, commissioners were given the 2012 audit report from Williams Keepers and were told there were no significant problems found.

They also heard a report from Spectrum Consulting, which was hired three years ago to help small towns work on improving water and sewer needs.

Jason Van Eaton, a partner in the Spectrum group, told commissioners they were pleased with how communities had reached out to them for help.

He said they are working on building public, private and nonprofit relationships to help with things like a wastewater treatment project which could save communities both upfront costs and monthly costs.

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