Buckley board sets deadline for cleanup of First St. property

BUCKLEY — After a lengthy discussion Monday night, village trustees voted to give Ray Dettmering, owner of property on South First Street in Buckley, until Thursday to have Miller Septic empty a septic tank on his property and have a plumber find a leak on the property — and to give him a week from Thursday to fix the problem entirely.

If the work is not done, the village plans to proceed with legal action against the property. The property has been an issue for some time, as there has been raw sewage on the ground.

The property’s tenant asked the board what was being done about a tile outlet problem there. The tenant said she would like to buy the property but cannot do so until the problem is fixed.

Preceding Monday’s decision was a special meeting held Nov. 30 at the First Street site. Present were village trustees Peggy Shockley, Terry Whitebird and Keith Hartke, along with the Village Attorney George Cuonzo of Watseka; Terry Eimen, director of environmental health for the Iroquois County Public Health Department; Donnie Miller, the village’s maintenance worker; Evan Shockley, a Buckley resident and former village board president; and Jim Balk.

Balk had said previously that the village needed to work on the outlet problem. Balk said a curtain drain might be a possibility for solving the problematic system, which he said was installed in 1995 by Murle Roy..

Balk said the water lines weren’t put in deep enough. Upon walking to the back yard, raw sewage on the ground was visible.

Cuonzo questioned what was draining into the tile, and Eimen said it should be groundwater, because of the 10-foot separation from the tank. Eimen said the curtain drain isn’t working because “we can see sewage on the ground and it’s not old, it’s new.”

The curtain drain is helping but not eliminating the problem. Balk said the sewage will dry up and that there used to be a pond on the property.

Cuonzo told Balk that the tank needed to be pumped, to which Balk replied, “It doesn’t!”

Eimen then said, “Yes, it does. This will run on the neighbor’s property, and this is an illegal discharge.”

Eimen said there are ground tests and other tests that need to be taken and that the village needs to check with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Cuonzo said it should be Dettmering’s responsibility to get all of that done since he owns the property. Balk said Dettmering was willing to do that.

But Cuonzo said, “He hasn’t done anything yet.”

Balk then yelled, “That’s because the village tile is plugged up; I can show you right now!”

But Eimen said the problem doesn’t have anything to do with the village’s drainage tile.

Balk then walked up to the front of the property and moved the old plywood off of a hole he had dug to show the village’s tile. Balk said it needs to be drilled out.

“What runs in this pipe — sewage?” Eimen asked.

Balk then said, “I run sewer water for 16 years in this town. We need to get (the home’s) crawlspace cleaned out.”

Peggy Shockley then asked Balk, “Who’s going to pay for this hole you dug?”

“I don’t give a crap if you ever pay me,” Balk said. “I just wanted to prove a point.”

Peggy Shockley said her concern was that Balk never asked the board for permission to dig the hole on city property.

“No, and I ain’t going to,” Balk responded. “I filled out the stupid permit, and I work in 18 different villages, and this is the only place I need a permit.”

Peggy Shockley then told Balk, “You’re not in many different villages; you’re in Buckley, and we have rules.”

After that, Balk covered back up the holes and stormed off. Balk had been warned before about digging on village property without permission, and that prompted the board to implement the permit process.

Officials agreed that the village cannot allow Balk or anyone else to dig wherever they want without permission.

Cuonzo and Eimen both said the hole needed to be filled as it is a safety issue, but Cuonzo said that if the tile needs to be unblocked, then the village should unblock it. At this time, it has been unblocked.

Shockley asked Miller if he had been digging on the south corner of the property that morning, and Miller said he did not — that it was Balk.

Cuonzo questioned why Balk was digging and suggested that the village get an injunction against him, but what happens is up to trustees.

Cuonzo asked the board if Balk was licensed. Trustees said he is licensed to dig septic tanks, but he is not a licensed plumber. Eimen responded by telling trustees that the next time they see Balk digging, they need to call the state, which can issue a $1,000 fine.

“Anytime he touches a water line, call,” Cuonzo said. “He can work on his own plumbing, but no one else’s.”
Cuonzo said he called Dettmering the day after the meeting and spoke with him. Cuonzo said he told him he needed to have the tank pumped, which Dettmering agreed to do. As of Monday, the tank had not been pumped, however.

Village Board President Sheree Stachura said she had been contacted by someone who also purchased a house on that same block, but the person had not yet been able to move in because there was no water service due to water lines needing to be moved because they are too close to the drainage lines. Stachura said she would like to see something done, as the property owner has been waiting for an answer for almost a year.

A cost estimate to move the main water line to the front of the properties on that street was provided about a year ago by ERH Enterprises Inc., the Westville-based company that takes care of the village’s water system. The board made plans to look at ways to cover the cost and get the work done.

Other business
Also at Monday’s meeting:

➜ There were no bids received for the purchase of a village-owned Dodge pickup truck, which the village advertised for sale, the board learned. As a result, the board agreed to have Miller check into trading in the vehicle, as the trade-in value was good. Miller was asked to report back to the board next month.

➜ Three new water meters were installed in the village, trustees learned.

➜ Cuonzo said he would send the board samples of other towns’ liquor ordinances to review. Trustees are planning to update Buckley’s liquor ordinance.

➜ Board members made plans to contact other small towns about what they are doing or have done about sewage systems. Cuonzo said they need to start looking into this, as eventually Buckley will need to get a sewage system.

➜ Miller said Christmas lights were installed. Miller said he wanted to thank Duane and Eric Dippel for their assistance in getting the work done. Miller also said the Buckley Lake building had been winterized and that the demolition on the Linda Long property was complete.


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