Just when we thought we'd heard all the bad news there was to hear about Washington County's sewer system, out comes another unpleasant tidbit - three years after it was built, an industrial wastewater pretreatment plant needs an upgrade that will cost almost $2 million. Before another dollar is spent, the commissioners need a long-term strategy for this facility.
The plant was built to treat liquid leaching out of a closed landfill and to attract new industries by giving them a facility to treat industrial wastes. The problem, county officials say, is that the plant wasn't designed to handle the oily waste generated by Mack Trucks, which represents 10 percent at most of the flow coming in. Some of the cash - about $165,000 - will be needed just to repair damage already done to the plant by the oily wastes.
Commissioner Jim Wade and others rightly question the wisdom of spending so much on upgrades for a customer who uses only 10 percent of the capacity at a plant which doesn't make a profit anyway. Commissioner R. Lee Downey wants to see a study showing how the plant might be marketed to industry before any more money is spent.