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Company cleans up closed plant, council told

By Anita Tucker

atucker@arkansasnews.com

The city zoning official said Tuesday that JBS, owners of the idled Pilgrim’s Pride plant in Clinton, are now in compliance with city ordinances.

Dwight Wilson told the Clinton City Council last week that the company has hired a new manager. He said fire extinguishers, electrical outlets, fencing and yard maintenance problems all have been resolved. He said there is no ammonia in any of the lines.

“Everything looks good,” Wilson said Tuesday. He and Fire Chief D.L. Webb toured the facility last Friday.

The new manager is to send an e-mail report to City Hall about the plant on a weekly basis, Wilson said.

The plant was closed in 2008. JBS has not said what plans it has for the facility.

In other news from the Nov. 8 meeting, Councilman Dickey Hink asked Wilson if a natural-gas company had applied for a permit to “build something east of town.”

Wilson said there is a compressor at the site on Highway 16 West that had been on a truck and no permit was required for that. He said the compressor is being moved onto the grounds, but there would be only one at the site. No permit is required as long as there is only one, he said.

Hink asked about the noise level from the compressor, and Wilson said the city ordinance had not set an acceptable decibel level.

“Hard to enforce it without a level,” Hink said.

Wilson later told the Democrat that there will be a buffer wall around the compressor.

It was noted that the city’s ordinance on natural-gas is 6 years old and the council may want to update it.

The council tabled until its next meeting a proposal to repeal the city’s safe driving ordinance. There is some question as to how the $150 ticket should be split among the state, county and city.

Clinton Mayor Roger Rorie said talks with Councilman Johnny Moore, Police Chief Toney Parish and a District Court representative had not resolved the matter. Rorie said he know of a similar ordinance in a nearby city that was challenged and declared unconstitutional.

The council asked City Attorney Matt Gilmore to look into the matter and give them some advice at the December meeting.

City Street Department head Charles Wilson asked the council what it wanted to do about replacing tiles in the Archey Fork subdivision where there is a problem with water lines backing up.

Apparently, a water line needs to be moved to fix the problem and that, Rorie said, “is going to cost us a chunk of money.”

Councilor Wendy Russ said the problem has to be fixed. “We can’t have a citizen of Clinton getting their house flooded because we don’t want to fix the problem.”

Hink made a motion to ask Charles Wilson to get two estimates from contractors to fix it. The motion carried unanimously.

Also at the meeting, Water Department manager Isaac Keeling told the council he had visited a town in Oklahoma to look at its square water clarifiers. No place in Arkansas has square ones, only round ones, Keeling said, and that’s why he traveled to Oklahoma.

He said the water plant operator there said the clarifier works well and has cut his chemical bill in half. However, Keeling said, the town has never had a problem with manganese, something that vexes Clinton’s system from time to time.

The Arkansas Department of Health gave the city two years to work on water quality. The first year is almost up.

“We need some clarifiers,” Keeling said. “But I think w need to look around before we jump on the first bandwagon.”

“We already are” looking around, the mayor said.

Keeling has said Clinton will likely have to build a square clarifier because of space issues at the treatment plant.

The City Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Dec. 12 at the Jim Burnett terminal at the Clinton airport. It begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

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