City drafts ordinance to remove BPW deadline - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

City drafts ordinance to remove BPW deadline

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Protesters outside of the Hannibal courthouse Tuesday afternoon. Protesters outside of the Hannibal courthouse Tuesday afternoon.
Sign displayed on back of truck reads no ammonia. Sign displayed on back of truck reads no ammonia.
Sign held by protester reads we are Hannibal. Sign held by protester reads we are Hannibal.
Sign held by protester giving details about chloramines. Sign held by protester giving details about chloramines.
HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -

The first hearing in the Hannibal Board of Public Works lawsuit was held Tuesday afternoon and while no decision was made, many involved left feeling optimistic.

HBPW filed a lawsuit against the city last month in an effort to get a temporary restraining order. Officials said the restraining order would buy them more time to become compliant with the approval of Prop 1, which was passed by voters in April and requires the removal of ammonia in the water treatment process.

The afternoon started off with protesters outside the Marion County Courthouse in Hannibal fighting for their vote against ammonia in the city's drinking water.

"I think our leaders need to know how serious we are about the most vital resource we have on earth and our access to it for life," Jessie Dryden said.

During the court hearing, the city's attorney revealed an ordinance that will be considered next week. It would replace the current ordinance passed by the voters and establish a timeline for meeting state regulations.

"If we're going to have a new water treatment system, let's spend the money on the new treatment system and not on attorney fees," City special counsel Lou Leonatti said.

Officials said this avoids fines by BPW for not meeting the 90-day window, which starts August 14th.

"We've been busy, since the first of May, going as fast as we know how to build a new water plant, but you can't do it in 90 days," BPW General Manager Bob Stevenson said.

Kellie Cookson, who opposes chloramines, said in court she likes the idea of the new of the new ordinance forcing BPW to give quarterly reports to residents and council on the treatment plant's progress.

"Each time we'll start getting the process rolling quicker. I'm highly sure we will not meet the the four year mark," Cookson said.

Others felt it encourages BPW to drag its feet.

"It's supposed to be a public service and it wasn't really serving," Dryden explained. "Right now, all this conversation is doing is making sure that clean water doesn't enter into our pipelines for another few years.

The ordinance was expected to be posted on the Hannibal City website Tuesday for residents to look at. City officials hoped residents would attend next week's meeting to make adjustments before it goes for a vote in a month.

Hannibal City Council also set up a meeting with the Board of Public Works for next Tuesday to help adjust the ordinance and see what can be done.

You can read the full lawsuit below:

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