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Pre-treatment plant debt updated

November 16, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

WILLIAMSPORT - The Conococheague Industrial Pre-Treatment Plant has come within $20,000 a month of breaking even for each of the past two months, Marketing Director Greg Larsen told the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday.

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The $9 million plant, built by the now-defunct Washington County Sanitary District in 1994, treats and dilutes industrial wastes before they enter the sewage treatment plant. In the Interstate 70/81 Industrial Park near Williamsport off Md. 63, the plant pre-treats waste for county and out-of-county customers.

The plant had its best month ever in September, when it made $57,688. That was up from $13,833 in March, according to county documents.

Previously, the highest monthly revenue was $53,848 in June 1999. The plant came close to meeting that revenue level last month, when it had revenues of $52,099.

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The break-even point is $850,000 a year, which works out to $70,833 a month.

Next year's break-even point will be about $350,000 higher than this year's because of increased debt service costs, Commissioner William J. Wivell said.

The plant revenues are expected to increase by at least $14,000 monthly in the spring, Larsen said. Companies will be able to deliver pre-treatment waste by rail and it will be moved from a railroad track near the plant to the plant itself by pipe, Larsen said. Construction of the 4-inch pipe has begun.

Before the presentation, the County Commissioners were given a tour of the plant to see some improvements that save the Washington County Water and Sewer Department money.

A new $250,000 "headworks," or screening, building lets the county more efficiently treat septage/chemical toilet water from the approximately 14,000 county septic tanks, Department Director Greg Murray said. The change prevents costly cleanups caused when untreatable waste enters the pre-treatment plant, he said.

Making this change helps the county avoid a $711,000 plant upgrade and will also result in about $200,000 more in annual revenues, Murray said. The change has brought in about $65,000 more in revenues since July, he said.

Another change has been turning a department building into an inventory warehouse. This makes it possible for the department to bulk-order and restock material.

It also frees up building space elsewhere, which has been converted into a shop area.

Those changes are saving the county $25,000 a year, Murray said.

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