Lowered charges could boost septic business

April 21, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Westminster septic hauler Ted Fringer has been the lonely guy at the Westminster Waste Water Treatment Plant, but he may have company soon.

Mr. Fringer has been the only Carroll hauler to regularly dump septic waste at a treatment facility that opened in January.

Yesterday, the Carroll commissioners voted unanimously to lower the fee to dump at the plant from 9 cents a gallon to 4 cents a gallon, to encourage more haulers to use it.

"I fought for this," said Mr. Fringer, whose family has operated Fringer Septic Cleaning for three generations.

The county opened the $1.9 million treatment plant to comply with a state law that says all raw sewage must be treated. The city operates the plant and bills the county for the costs.

Mr. Fringer said he dumped at the Westminster plant even though it was more expensive because it was the honest thing to do. Other haulers have been driving to Baltimore County to dispose of waste because the fee there is 2 cents a gallon, he said.

Baltimore County does not allow waste from other counties to be dumped in its facilities, but it does not closely monitor the process, Mr. Fringer said.

His business dropped off when he passed the higher cost on to customers, he said. The 9-cents-a-gallon fee meant he had to add $180 to the average bill, he said. The 4-cent fee will mean adding $80 instead, he said.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said he talked Monday with Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden about the situation.

Of Mr. Fringer, Mr. Lippy said, "One honest man is being penalized."

Carroll has about 15 licensed septic haulers. Many protested the 9-cent fee when it was proposed in 1991.

The county polled haulers recently to ask if they would use the Westminster facility if the fee were cut to 4 cents a gallon, and they said "maybe," Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said.

If more haulers use the plant, the county will be able to get a better idea how much it costs to actually run the plant, said Robert A. "Max" Bair, the commissioners' executive assistant.

"No matter what we do, it's got to be an improvement over the existing situation," Mr. Lippy said.

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