County suspends receiving septic waste at wastewater plant

The county will temporarily suspend receiving septic waste at its Industrial Air Park wastewater treatment plant, commissioners agreed Tuesday morning at their regular meeting.

Stacy Watkins, the consulting engineer for the upgrades currently under way at the plant, wrote a letter to the Decatur County Board of Commissioners. In that letter, he recommended that the plant is not in a suitable condition to receive “any additional sludge material other than that of traditional industrial park customers.”

Watkins further wrote that he visited the plant Dec. 22, 2011, and witnessed several septic/grease-pumping trucks depositing their waste.

“The addition of this highly concentrated sludge into the treatment works has caused excessive build-up of sludge throughout the plant,” he said.

Watkins recommended that the county temporarily suspend the acceptance of outside septic waste until the upgrades have been installed and are operational.

“Continuing to accept septic/grease waste while the plant is not working properly will only cause increased cost to the county for additional sludge removal and possible further damage to the system,” he wrote.

Commission David C. “Butch” Mosely asked what the alternative solution was for citizens and companies who were used to using the plant.

“What we are saying is that we’ll take your tax money, but we won’t take your waste,” he said. “What do they have to fall back on?

“I just think if we had taken care of this problem in a more timely manner, we wouldn’t be in this position right now.”

Mosely was the only commissioner to vote against the temporary suspension. Chairman Dr. C.T. Stafford, Vice Chairman Russell Smith, and Commissioners Dr. Earl Perry, Frank Loeffler and Oliver Sellers all voted in favor.

In other business, the county:

• Approved reception of approximately $60,000 in grants to the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office, to help crime victims.

• Set qualifying fees for elected county offices at 3 percent of the annual salary.

• Approved renting a rotary press from Fournier Industries of Thetford Mines, Quebec, Canada, at $10,000 for the initial week and $2,000 for each week following. The press is necessary for the wastewater plant project.

• Appointed Jerry Long to the Industrial Development Authority board and re-appointed Erica Mills to the DFACS board.

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