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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

Springfield Reviewing Potential Misuse of City Property, Funds, at Treatment Plant

Springfield-Greene County Park Board

Springfield City Manager Greg Burris has called for a criminal probe to determine if any misconduct occurred at its Southwest Treatment Plant.

The request comes after review of the facts from a just concluded personnel investigation within the Environmental Services Department.

According to a news release issued Tuesday, the city was notified of “concerns,” and has since been “reviewing all aspects of how the facility [treatment plant] does business, both operationally and financially.” That includes a comprehensive financial review using outside industry experts and an external audit firm, the city added.

The review has focused on “potential misuse of city-owned property and funds at the treatment plant,” the release stated. Few other details about the investigation were provided. The city noted that all personnel matters are private and confidential.

“The Southwest Treatment Plant is an outstanding facility served by 42 dedicated employees who work tirelessly to take care of the award-winning plant and the customers served by the plant,” said City Manager Greg Burris. “We believe the events that occurred are isolated and are continuing further investigation and reviews to ensure proper measures have been taken to prevent future problems of this nature,” Burris said. “We will await further action until these reviews and the police investigation are concluded.”

The city says the Southwest Treatment Plant has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) Platinum Award - issued to plants receiving five Gold Awards in a row.

The site is one of two wastewater treatment facilities operated by the Department of Environmental Services and operates around the clock to treat wastewater from the greater Springfield area.