Wastewater | 2 MIN READ

#RCAP50: Overcoming Floods and Civic Dysfunction to Complete A New Wastewater System

July 13, 2023 By RCAP

Location: Silex, Missouri

Problem: A dysfunctional local government caused the City to be non-responsive to the State agency representing a significant funding source for improvements to their wastewater treatment system.

Solution: MAP staff worked with the Clerk and City Administrator to submit the necessary documents to MO DNR to close the loan, and successfully complete the project.

Silex is a small community located northwest of St. Louis in eastern Missouri’s Lincoln County. The city’s location near the Cuivre River has caused the downtown area to be inundated by several major floods in recent years, eventually leading to the relocation of residential properties to higher ground nearby. A recent flash flood also caused the loss of key records at City Hall, and damage to the city’s three-cell lagoon which was already failing to meet the limits for ammonia and E.coli spelled out in the State Operating Permit. The MO Department of Natural Resources issued a Notice of Violation to the city, but also provided a financial package which included a Direct State Loan of $277,000 and Rural Sewer Grant for $152,600, along with a CDBG grant and other funds which allowed the city to begin a project that would convert the current lagoon system into a no-discharge, subsurface drip irrigation process.

Construction work was ongoing in early 2018 when the local government was rocked by the resignation of the city clerk and election of a new Mayor later found to be ineligible to hold the position. The records which had been missing since the flooding at the previous City Hall resulted in a citizen petition calling for a State audit of local finances, along with the city’s failure to provide important documentation in a timely manner to the MO DNR Financial Assistance Center. At that point MAP was called in to assist, and was able to assist with providing the necessary information to keep the project on track. The new system is now fully operational, and city government is demonstrating greater stability along with enhanced capacity to manage ongoing challenges.