Waste disposal addressed
By By JOHN DILMORE JR. Managing Editor
The City of Brewton is cracking down on other municipalities that have abused the privilege of dumping household waste in the city's sewage treatment facilities.
The move toward a stricter set of policies is being made out of necessity.
The ponds into which household waste is dumped have to be kept in compliance with Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) standards. That's almost impossible to do when anything other than household waste is dumped into them -- a problem that has arisen in the past and again recently.
And it's an expensive problem to clean up. According to Madden, the city recently spent close to $10,000 on chemicals to bring the ponds back into ADEM compliance. That's roughly half of the approximately $20,000 the city takes in annually from waste disposal fees it charges other municipalities.
Recently, Madden said, he became aware of a hauler dumping waste oil into one of the ponds. That was the spark that has led to the consideration of harsher policies.
Right now, there is not an ordinance on the books regulating dumping into the ponds. The only thing in writing is a requirement that the utilities superintendent inspect each load being dumped, something Madden said is very difficult to do.
So the city council has appointed a committee to investigate a number of measures aimed at better safeguarding the integrity of the ponds. Madden, councilman Cary Barton, councilman Frank Cotten and community development director Pete Diurno make up the committee.
Already, the city has changed the form haulers must fill out when dumping waste into the city ponds, making it more like an affidavit, Madden said.
Other measures the committee is considering include requiring haulers to carry liability insurance related to what goes into the ponds and charging higher dumping fees.
The committee also has to consider seriously whether or not to continue to practice at all, Madden said.
Currently, the city charges $50 per load dumped into the waste treatment ponds, which are located on High Street. A load is typically between 1,500 to 2,000 gallons.
Waste is trucked to the ponds from as far away as Evergreen and Jay.