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Cole County commissioners want action over spewing sewage

A feud between Cole County commissioners and the Cole County prosecutor over raw sewage is being taken to the next level.

Tuesday afternoon, county commissioners called on Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to get involved in a case where raw sewage is leaking from a private residence, posing a major health and environmental hazard. Commissioners say Cole County prosecutor Mark Richardson refuses to take on the case and enforce the law.

Family members agree with the commissioners and want the problem fixed immediately because they have to live right next to the smell.

According to commissioners, the county is aware of the problem, however, by law, the county’s health department and the commissioners cannot do anything about it. The county can investigate, but then it is up to the prosecuting attorney to pursue legal and criminal actions.

“Raw sewage is being leaked, the county’s hands are totally tied unless the prosecutor will act,” said Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger.

Commissioners are asking the attorney general to either take action to enforce the law or force prosecutor Mark Richardson to enforce the state law.

The raw sewage is leaking from a home on Landing Creek Road. According to owner Joseph Meidel’s brother, Meidel is in jail awaiting charges. His girlfriend, though, is still living in the trailer.

“I tried to tell him before he bought the place, I thought by law, whoever the seller was, they were supposed to upgrade before they could actually sell it,” said Meidel’s brother, Scott Owens.

Owens says the sewage has been leaking for at least 15 years.

According to Owens, Holts Summit-based J and L Mobile Home Park owned the property before selling it to Meidel. The company refused an on-camera interview, but a manager told ABC 17’s Daniel Winn he did not have any idea about the situation.

Owens claims his brother is not to blame and instead J and L Mobile Home Park should be held accountable.

Commissioners say it is a stinky problem that the Cole County prosecutor just does not want to touch.

“He just doesn’t want to do it,” said Ellinger. “He just doesn’t think it’s a good use of his resources and sometime in the next year, he hopes it will go away.”

Commissioners have even volunteered their own attorney so it wouldn’t take resources away from the prosecutor’s office.

ABC 17 News reached out to Richardson Tuesday afternoon, but he did not return calls or email.

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