Septic plant shows profit, but fee was cut sharply

June 30, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll County did not lose money operating its septic treatment plant in the last 10 months, but county Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman warned yesterday that the numbers are deceiving.

The Carroll commissioners were encouraged by his report, which showed revenue exceeding expenses by more than $5,000 for the period from July 1992 through April 1993.

"I feel better already," Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said.

The $1.9 million treatment plant has been a problem for the county since it opened to haulers in January because only one septic hauler has regularly used the plant. The plant was completed late last summer.

Most Carroll haulers dump in Baltimore County because they are charged 2 cents a gallon there. Carroll's rate had been 9 cents a gallon until April, when the commissioners voted to lower the rate to 4 cents a gallon. Last week, the haulers asked the commissioners to reduce the rate to 2 cents a gallon.

The report released yesterday shows that the cost to treat one gallon of septic waste was 5 cents during the 10-month period. But the report does not include depreciation on the building, Mr. Curfman said.

The county built the facility at the Westminster Waste Water 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. Curfman said he hopes to meet with Westminster city officials this week to get more accurate cost estimates. Then the county will know if it can lower the rate to 2 cents per gallon, he said.

The report showed $20,437 in revenue and $15,175 in expenses. The largest expense -- $10,021 -- was electricity.

Revenue exceeded expenses in part because the rate was 9 cents per gallon for part of the reporting period, Mr. Curfman said.

Westminster septic hauler Ted Fringer has been the only hauler to use the plant regularly, even after the rate was lowered in April.

Carroll has about 15 licensed haulers.

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