Vandalia banks from herbicide settlement

Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 9:30 am

The City of Vandalia received a substantial fiscal boost as part of a recent $105 million water contamination settlement stemming from the weed-killer atrazine.

Represented by St. Louis’ Korein Tillery and the Dallas law firm of  Baron and Budd, Vandalia won $236,119.62 from a lawsuit against the Swiss chemical manufacturer Syngenta AG and other atrazine producers. Use of the money — originally meant for past costs of removing the contaminant  -— will now be at the discretion of the city.

The contamination issue dates back to the late-90s.

As for the money, Vandalia City Administrator Alan Winders said the settlement won’t be included as part of the city’s 2013 fiscal budget, which will be set during the city council’s regular Feb. 12 meeting.

“I’m suggesting we determine the use of this money at a later date,” Winders said. “What I want to do is make sure the council knows (about the settlement) and start to determine what to do with the money.”

Winders said the funds should stay within the water department, specifically toward capital improvements.

Although the funds didn’t come in time for the current upgrades at the water facility, in which the financing plan has been finalized, more improvements at the plant are on the horizon.

“I have a high degree of confidence we are not done making improvements to the water facility,  but that’s for the council to decide,” Winders said. “We need to look at where the money best fits.”

“There are countless things we can do with that money,” Chief Water Plant Operator Darren Berry said.

Pick up a copy of the Leader’s Feb. 13 issue for more of this report.

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