Sludge haulers' sneaky dump CARROLL COUNTY

April 26, 1993

It is unfortunate more people in the sludge hauling business aren't like Ted Fringer.

The owner of Fringer Septic Cleaning, Mr. Fringer is the only septic hauler in Carroll County obeying the rules by regularly dumping his waste at the septic processing operation county officials established at the Westminster waste water treatment plant. The county's other haulers have been dumping waste into Baltimore County's sewage system.

And as is often the case in such situations, Mr. Fringer finds his business at a disadvantage and his service more expensive than competitors, because he's doing the right thing. He pays 9 cents a gallon to dispose of waste. The rest of Carroll's 15 licensed septic haulers are avoiding that charge by dumping their loads into Baltimore County's sewage system. Baltimore County charges septic haulers 2 cents a gallon, but many of them aren't even paying that because Baltimore County uses the "honor system."

Not only are these other haulers getting a big break on their prices, they aren't supposed to be dumping Carroll septic waste in the Baltimore County sewer system. Only Baltimore County septic waste should be disposed into its waste water system. But many Carroll haulers have Baltimore County permits and clean septic tanks in that neighboring jurisdiction. Once the waste is pumped into the truck's tank, it is admittedly hard to determine its place of origin.

Because these haulers haven't been dumping their loads into the Westminster plant since that $1.9 million facility opened last January, it is safe to assume they have been dumping into the Baltimore County system. Officials there aren't happy about that, not wanting to become a dumping ground for septic waste from other counties, which they must pay to treat.

To correct this, Carroll's commissioners have reduced dumping charges at the Westminster waste water plant to 4 cents a gallon. Baltimore County officials might also consider increasing their charges to that level to reduce the incentive by outsiders to use their system. They also should be more vigilant about monitoring dumping. At present, Baltimore countians are unfairly bearing the cost of processing Carroll's waste.

It is time for the rest of Carroll's haulers to follow Mr. Fringer's practice and do the right thing.

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