The Ridge Creek Subdivision, which has been struggling with contaminated water since 2014, might soon hear a solution to their problems.
*UPDATE* (9-222-17) Editor's note: The St. Robert Board of Alderman held a special meeting on Thursday, September 21, after the following article was published, to begin the process of providing aid to the Ridge Creek Subdivision.
The Board voted unanimously to assume control of the subdivision’s water system through a Due Diligence Agreement with the Ridge Creek Receiver, Terry Jarrett.
However according to Mayor Lauritson, the issue still needs to go before a judge before they can legally take over the water. Once a judge approves the change in ownership, the City will be able to start helping the residents.
Once the City of St. Robert officially assumes control of the water system, they plan to install chlorination devices on three of the subdivision’s wells. The City will also set the water bill rates for the residents and collect them.
Mayor Lauritson said the process has been in the works for awhile, and is glad things are moving in a positive direction for the residents of Ridge Creek, who have been struggling with unsafe water conditions since 2004. *END UPDATE*
According to a Facebook post made by St. Robert Mayor George Lauritson, the City of St. Robert is working on a way to acquire responsibility for the subdivisions water system.
“In meeting with Mrs. Stoner, her engineer, DNR, PSC, along with numerous phone conversations we were not able to resolve problems or purchase the systems,” Mayor Lauritson said in his posting. “With the receivership we have moved forward in the process. I think we are close to a contract with the receiver.”
A special Board of Alderman meeting was scheduled on September 21, at 5 p.m.. The sole item on the agenda was an ordinance authorizing the Mayor to “Execute the Due Diligence Agreement with Terry M. Jarrett, Receiver for Ridge Creek Water Company LLC.”
This due diligence agreement states “the City of St. Robert is strongly considering purchasing the water supply system from Ridge Creek Water Company LLC,” and there are “testing and penalty issues with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) about Ridge Creek Water Company LLC.”
The agreement explains that in order to meet DNR testing standards, chlorinators need to placed on three of the twenty-two wells and the Ridge Creek Entities do not have the funds to purchase the chlorinators.
Should the ordinance pass and the due diligence agreement be accepted, the City of St. Robert will examine the feasibility of annexing the subdivision and temporarily assume operational and system maintenance responsibility for the water system. The City would pay for the chlorinators to be installed and be responsible for the installation and operation of the three wells and collect monthly water bills from the residents as well as set the rates, according to the agreement.
Many of the Ridge Creek residents have been struggling under a constant boil order and unsafe drinking water. In 2014 the Missouri Public Service Commission filed a complaint against Ridge Creek Developing, alleging the “Ridge Creek Development failed to provide safe and adequate service, and the company does not engage in water quality testing or treatment to ensure its safety for human consumption.” Residents were also given a large increase to their water bills, increasing the cost of living for many of them while they dealt with unhealthy water.
Since then, Ridge Creek residents have held several meetings, and made presentations to the Cities of Waynesville and St. Robert. In one meeting, Gary Porter, Chairman of the Board for the Pulaski County Sewer District, along with several other members, agreed that something needed to be done in order to help the residents, according to a Facebook post from a Ridge Creek Resident.
At the time of this publication, the St. Robert Board of Alderman had not voted whether or not to pass the ordinance and enter into the Due Diligence Agreement with the receiver. The Daily Guide will continue following the story and provide an update on the Board’s decision as well as events moving forward with the Ridge Creek Subdivision.