Barry County Health Board approves variance request

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Barry County Health Department Board of Trustees approved a wastewater system variance request at its regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 17.

Roger Brock, health department administrator, presented the board with a request that was submitted by Daniel Dougherty, who lives in Emerald Beach near Eagle Rock. Dougherty plans to install a drip irrigation advanced treatment system at his 15,600-square-foot lot.

"The building lot was platted in the 1970s," said Brock. "He bought the property in 1992. His current septic system has had a failure, and we received a complaint."

Barry County environmental public health specialists visited the property and issued a violation citation. In response, Dougherty paid for soil testing, which was submitted to the health department.

"The lot is not large enough for a conventional system," said Brock. "The soil test was not bad. The lot is just small. The home is part of a subdivision, and the drip system he plans to install will be around 30 feet from a non-community well that serves the subdivision."

Dougherty contacted his neighbors in an effort to purchase an easement for a conventional septic system. Both of his neighbors indicated that they were not interested in selling an easement at this time, said Brock.

The advanced treatment system plan calls for the installation of a drip irrigation unit, which includes a series of lateral lines that feature admitters every 12 inches. A pump system allows the wastewater to drip out of the lines at a very slow pace controlling the amount of ground saturation.

"There is also a return line for the waste that doesn't drip out," said Brock. "The existing holding unit will stay in place for the junk."

The drip irrigation system is needed because the property is a full-time residence. If a holding tank was used, the tank would need to be pumped many times each year, which would likely cost the homeowner over $20,000 per year.

Brock said that the system would include a holding tank alarm and an override switch for emergencies.

"This is the top of the line system available," said Brock. "The homeowner wants to put this system in. I think it will work. I would suggest we include a stipulation that he must keep a lifetime maintenance agreement on the system."

The drip irrigation system will cost the homeowner around $20,000.

John Starchman, board chairman, recommended the health department require well monitoring due to the close proximity to the subdivision well.

The board voted to approve the variance request with the requirement for a lifetime maintenance contract. Dougherty is also required to complete quarterly well sampling for two years and then biannual testing every year after.

Well sampling costs will be waived. If the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is already monitoring the well, the well sampling requirement will be waived.

The board also reviewed the 2012 budget, which includes a 3 percent raise for all employees. The pay increase will cost the health department $16,585.

"A 2 percent raise would cost around $5,500 less," said Brock. "That is not a huge difference, but the 3 percent will offer a reasonable increase across the board."

The health board plans to vote on the budget at its next meeting on Dec. 15. The budget must be submitted to the Barry County Commission by Jan. 31, 2012.

In other business, the Barry County Health Department Board of Trustees:

* Heard that repairs have been completed on the exterior of the Monett office by Lowe Construction. The work will cost $1,205.

* Received an update on computer system improvements.

* Reviewed the service fees, public health programs, service count, environmental services and administrator's reports.

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