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Chlorine contamination leads to safety measures

The Lonoke City Council is making changes to water treatment on Monday night during the council meeting after two employees were hospitalized for chlorine contamination.

Public Works superintendent Ron Gosnell told the council that on employees Jim Kelly and Fred Flowers were hospitalized Sept. 30 following an incident at the water plant. While both were were transported to the hospital due to chlorine contamination, Flowers was taken mainly for observation and was released later that day. Kelly remained in ICU overnight but was release the following day.

Gosnell said cause of the incident was from a clog in the vent line on the chlorinator, which now must be repaired. Cost to repair the chlorinator is $6,500, according to Gosnell. Gosnell said the public works department would like to switch from chlorine to bleach. He said cost to switch will be $3,300 for the pump and $2,900 for a building to house the new system.

“Everything is going smooth at the water plant,” Gosnell said. “I don’t like changing things when its going smooth, but it’s safer. If we are going to do it, now is the time.”

Gonell added that in addition to it being safer, the use of chlorine will causes less backwash.

“The objective is to save good water, not waste it,” Gosnell said.

In a unanimous vote, the council approve to spend up to $7,000 to switch over from chlorine to bleach.

Residents and visitors should soon see a change in lighting on Interstate 40 and Arkansas Highway 31 interchange. There are currently six lights not working on the north side of Interstate 40 by McDonald’s, three on the east exit ramp, five on the access road south of the interstate and one on the south on ramp.

“I’m just ready to see it done,” alderman Pat Howell said.

The council unanimously voted to spend up to $6,000 to repair lighting at the freeway.

Also for the public works department, the council voted unanimously to purchase a monitoring system for the lift station in the amount of $5,577.27.

Police chief Mike Wilson said for the month of September, compared to September 2012, theft numbers were up. There were six commercial burglary cases compared to last year’s one, 14 thefts $1,000 or less from building compared to seven last year and two thefts $1,000 or less from vehicles compared to none reported in September of last year. Wilson said most of the theft is due to shoplifting from stores.

In old business, the council voted unanimously to remove the the three county parcels from the property issues list and to allow 3rd Street Apartments and the Mallard Point Golf Course to remain on the property issues list until the next meeting.

The city has received one estimate from Chenal Restoration DKI in Little Rock on repairs for the administration building. Total repair costs, which includes the roof would be $189,355. The council voted unanimous to table pursuit of repairs on the building until after the first of the year.

By unanimous vote, the council approved the distribution of tax collections for 2012 taxes collected in 2013 for Lonoke. The millage will remain the same at 5.4 mills. Five mills will be used toward the general millage fund. The remaining 0.4 mills collected will go to the local fireman’s pension fund.

The city opened bids on Sept. 26 for the demolition of the former Pet Quarters building. Four bids were received with an alternate bid with the removal of the slab. The highest bid with removal of the slab was for $261,650 from Excavating Services of Little Rock and the lowest bid was for $20,100 from Randy Phillips in Carlisle. The council unanimously voted to accept the bid from Randy Phillips for $20,100.

In other city business the council unanimously voted to approve the legislative audit report purchase accidental death and dismemberment for $1,780 per year.

The November council meeting has been moved to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 in the court room due to the city offices being closed Nov. 11 in observance of Veterans Day.

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