The plant will continue to lose about $1 million a year unless it gets more customers, according to county projections.
The more than $11 million invested in the plant so far is equal to about $86 per county resident.
Depending on who you ask, the plant is either a classic example of government waste or a rough diamond that needs a little polish.
"Basically it's an $11 million gamble that didn't pay off," said County Commissioner James R. Wade, who became a commissioner after the plant was built.
Wade said that with hindsight the plant was clearly a mistake.
"How many businesses put up an $11 million building and hope they find somebody to fill it?" Wade said.
The plant hasn't attracted companies or jobs to the county, said coordinator Sharon Disque at the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.
Water and Sewer Director Greg Murray said Wal-Mart located its photo processing plant near the pretreatment plant in the Interstate 70/81 Business Park in 1994 in part because of the pretreatment plant, but Disque said the company probably would have come without it. Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc. now runs the operations at the plant and employs about 200 people, according to the EDC.
Disque said she didn't see any projects on the horizon of the type that would use the plant, either.
"Frankly, those projects are few and far between," she said.