BY CAROL HICKS
City council members learned Tuesday that J&R Used Tire hired ELM Energy, LLC of Peoria to clean up its fire site as soon as the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will allow work to begin.
In a letter Mayor Bill Crusinberry received before the council meeting from Todd W. Snarr, senior vice president of ELM Energy, LLC , a plan was outlined with timelines set for each action. Two immediate plans, according to Crusinberry, which would take place in seven days were to "address smoldering debris piles in order to eliminate smoke and prevent any further fire activity" and "cut-off and plug existing sanitary sewer connections from the plant property to prevent any releases from impacting the city’s waste water treatment system."
"There are still issues at the Sanitary Treatment plant," Crusinberry said, "with run off of soot and oil (from the sewer connection at the fire site), which is incurring extra expense from the fire." He added the sewage treatment plant is dealing with the problem.
ELM letter said the company will address the storm water runoff issue in 14 days; sort debris piles into three distinct groups — scrap steel to be recycled, clean brick and concrete to be recycled and used/processed tire debris and building demolition/fire debris in 21 days; additional characterization of debris piles to be sent off site for disposal at Republic’s nearby landfill in Hoopeston in 28 days; loading and off-site transportation of materials for recycling (scrap metal, etc.) in 45 days; loading and off-site transportation of materials for disposal in 60 days; and on-site crushing of brick and concrete for recycling in 75 days.
"We intend to provide IEPA with initial elements of the plan later today (Tuesday) and then a final plan within seven days," Snarr’s letter said. "Of course, we can only proceed as fast as IEPA will allow."
The fire has cost Hoopeston roughly, according to Crusinberry, about $150,000 which doesn’t include the water and electricity usage.
In other business, council members approved the water rate ordinance unanimously.
Effective in the September billing cycle, there will be a rate increase of $3.23 per 1,000 gallons for the first 5,000 gallons of water used in a household and $3 per 1,000 gallons above the 5,000 gallons. The revenue will help repay the loan for the repairs to the tower and ground tanks project. Also added to the ordinance was a 5 percent annual increase for the next five years to help put money aside for infrastructure repairs and emergencies.
Crusinberry said Hoopeston was among the bottom 10 communities in water rates out of 92 communities surveyed.
Council nenbers also approved unanimously the annual appropriation ordinance for the fiscal year 2013-2014 for all necessary expenses and liabilities of the city.
Learned the planning commission will meet at 4 p.m. Aug. 5 at City Hall for a conditional use permit at 859 E. Young St.
Learned that man hours for the fire amounted to 12,000 man hours. The new fire truck, damaged during the fire, needed repairs that were covered by warranty. It will be back in service next week. All fire gear had been sized and was waiting for the insurance to be confirmed before ordering, according to Alderman Joe Fell.
Learned Crusinberry and state Sen. Jason Barickman toured the fire site Tuesday. Barickman offered to aid the city if he could and would look into a first responders grant that Gov. Pat Quinn had made available.
Hoopeston City Council members will meet at 7 p.m. Aug. 6 at City Hall, 301 W. Main St.