The Franklin County Commission Tuesday approved the formation of a new town in the county.

The Town of Charmwood was officially incorporated this week after county officials completed a review of a petition submitted by "taxable inhabitants" of the area.

County Counselor Mark Vincent said the petition was a Missouri Department of Natural Resources initiative to help with sanitary waste problems in the area.

The village incorporates the Charmwood Subdivision, which is located off Highway W south of Interstate 44 in the Stanton area.

"It took a while for us at the county level to handle it because the signatures, being based on taxable residents, took awhile to figure out," Vincent said.

Bill Hickle, attorney for the petitioners, said the area needed to incorporate in order to be able to apply for grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's community block grant program.

"There's some serious environmental problems because of the aging sewage treatment facilities serving the area," Hickle said. "They need to be rectified and DNR has been simultaneously persistent and patient in its work with the residents there."

Hickle said the petition submitted to the county listed between 30 and 40 taxable inhabitants.

"That doesn't include children," he noted.

County commissioners appointed citizens to the village's board of trustees.

Don Schlitt and Bob Couch were appointed to two-year terms. Don Ruwwe, Earl Fangers and Orlando Mallari were appointed to one-year terms.

Schlitt, didn't wish to comment to The Missourian.

Once those terms are up, the offices will be elected by village residents.

Hickle said the village, being involved with DNR and possibly the USDA, will be under close scrutiny to how it is run.

"It's a self-correcting process," he said.

Water, Sewer Problems

Charmwood subdivision was listed as a chronic violator by DNR, failing regularly to do required bacteriological testing of its drinking water system.

The community water system serves 28 households, according to DNR.

Last year, the water and sewer district's owner, listed through the state as William Happell, was said to have been charging for water and sewer service even though the district is in noncompliance.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources held a public meeting in Sullivan to meet with those served by the district. The meeting covered state law requirements, reporting, testing and payment of service.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit environmental research organization, the water system has tested in the past for some of the highest levels of trichlorobenzene, a degreasing agent linked to liver, kidney and lung damage, in the state.

Staff within DNR's Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology (BEE) said last year that wasn't the case.

They located a sample result dated Nov. 2, 1999, showing that 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene was detected at 0.9 microgram per liter or parts per billion.

The health-based screening level for the chemical is 70 micrograms per liter.

In 1995, Happel was sued by then-Attorney General Jay Nixon for failure to obtain a permit, pay laboratory service fees, collect and submit routine bacteria and other samples and give public notice after samples exceeded safe levels of coliform.

The last community in Franklin County to incorporate was the Village of Miramigoua Park, which was formed in 1997.

Towns and villages, terms which are considered interchangeable in the Missouri statutes, are primarily regulated and empowered by Chapter 80 of the statutes.