Tuesday, Aug. 15, was deadline to cease use of chloramines.
With the Aug. 15 deadline looming for the Hannibal Board of Public Works (HBPW) to be in compliance with Proposition 1 regarding the use of ammonia in the city's water supply, Circuit Court Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd on Monday, Aug. 14, denied the HBPW's request for a temporary restraining order.
City Manager Jeff LaGarce declined a request for comment regarding the judge's ruling “as the case itself is still open, and this was part of a larger suit they submitted to the court.”
Bob Stevenson, general manager of the HBPW, did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.
A case management conference regarding the matter is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 1.
Monday's ruling follows the Aug. 8 hearing during which the HBPW asked the court to declare the entire ordinance unenforceable because it supposedly contradicts Hannibal City Charter and state laws, which supersede local laws and regulations.
Short of that the judge was asked to eliminate the sections of the ordinance that specify a 90-day timeframe for compliance.
In anticipation that a ruling would not be rendered on Aug. 8 the HBPW's petition requested a preliminary and permanent injunction and a temporary restraining order to prevent the enforcement of the ordinance until a decision could be reached on the requests for a declaratory judgment that would provide the utility guidance from the court on how to implement the ordinance.
Relief for the HBPW might be on the horizon in the form of a revised chloramine ordinance that was on the City Council's agenda for consideration during its Tuesday, Aug. 15, meeting.
Implementation of the new ordinance could not occur until early September, leaving the HBPW Board and water plant operators subject to penalties outlined in the existing ordinance which took effect Aug. 15.
Special counsel for the HBPW, Robert Brundage, asked Judge Shepherd for a temporary restraining order that would expire one day after the new ordinance was adopted. The city opposed that request. No action, however, was taken by the judge on that request during the Aug. 8 hearing.
An attorney for the city, however, said the city would likely not enforce the ordinance while while amendments or revisions to the ordinance were still up in the air.
Reach reporter Danny Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org