County opts for alternate septic waste treatment plan Haulers will pay a per-gallon charge

September 06, 1992|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

The county commissioners, who balked at spending $40,000 to $50,000 for scales to weigh septic tank wastes for treatment, think they've found a cheaper alternative.

The county government has had a septic waste treatment facility ready to open since March at the Westminster sewage treatment plant. But start-up was delayed while the commissioners and staff discussed how to measure the wastes brought in by private haulers. Haulers will be assessed a 9-cent-per-gallon fee.

A proposal to scrap the scales in favor of a fee based on septic tank sizes won quick endorsement last week from Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Elmer C. Lippy. Commissioner Julia W. Gouge was on vacation.

"It's the most sensible thing I've heard yet," Mr. Lippy said.

The proposal also got a verbal green light from the state Agriculture Department's weights and measures section, clearing the way for the commissioners to act.

The plan calls for haulers of septic waste to record the sizes of individual tanks as they pump out wastes. Fees to haulers will be based on the total number of gallons they report at the treatment facility . For example, if the hauler has pumped out one 750-gallon tank and one 1,000 gallon tank, he would be charged $157.50 -- 1,750 gallons at 9 cents a gallon.

"If there aren't measurements of each individual [truckload], that is not something the weights and measures section would have jurisdiction over," said M. Richard Shockley, program manager for liquid measuring devices.

Mr. Shockley said his initial concern was that if the county government charged a per-gallon fee based on truckload weights, the fee should accurately reflect the gallonage on the truck.

Ted Fringer, owner of A. Roy Fringer and Son septic waste hauling service, called the new proposal a major improvement over an earlier county plan to charge by the size of the truck. That plan would have forced haulers to

charge homeowners for a full load regardless of whether the truck actually was full when it went to the facility, Mr. Fringer said.

"I still think 9 cents a gallon is too high," he said. The per-gallon charge is based on Westminster city officials' calculations of operating costs at the facility, which is county-owned but city-operated.

The proposed charges are based on the assumption that all septic tanks are full when pumped. County planner Helen M. Spinelli said she was assured by local health department officials that the assumption is accurate. The tanks require pumping when waste concentrations become too high, she said.

County officials do not yet have a date when the septic waste facility will open.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.