City wants Wal-Mart to pay for spill

Friday, September 17, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:54 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

City officials expect to recover from Wal-Mart the $4,100 it cost to clean up a sewage spill into Hinkson Creek that happened when grease from the Conley Road store blocked a city sewer line in early August.

The city issued a notice of violation to Wal-Mart in late August, expressing its intent to recover the costs of the cleanup and any fines levied by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, said Dennie Pendergrass, chief of operations for the Public Works Department.

Pendergrass provided the $4,100 estimate on the cost of the cleanup.

The company has 30 days to respond to the violation by presenting a plan for how it will prevent the problem from recurring.

The DNR this week issued a notice of violation to the city, requiring that it make a schedule for routine maintenance of grease traps connected to the city sewer system.

"A notice of violation is the first step in the process, and it aims to bring voluntary compliance from the violator," DNR spokesman Kerry Cordray said. The department has not issued a fine at this time, and Pendergrass doesn't expect it will.

Pendergrass said the city is evaluating alternatives to prevent such an incident from repeating. In the city's response, which is required by Sept. 30, he expects to outline what the city has been doing and any procedural changes it has made.

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