Deep Run may reopen for Coca-Cola

February 10, 1994|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,Sun Staff Writer

Howard County has proposed reopening its Deep Run wastewater treatment plant to handle waste from Coca-Cola Enterprise's new syrup production and bottling plant in Dorsey.

The treatment facility off Race Road in Elkridge has been closed since the mid-1980s. It has the capacity to treat 1 million gallons of effluent daily.

Maryland Environmental Services, a quasi-state agency that oversees wastewater treatment plants, would have to approve opening the plant.

County officials have made the proposal to Coca-Cola Enterprises, which plans to build a $150 million bottling and syrup plant in the Parkway Corporate Center. Coca-Cola officials have not made a decision on the county's proposal, say local government officials.

County Executive Charles I. Ecker said he and other officials have talked several times with Coca-Cola Enterprises executives about the treatment plant proposal. The company would have to pay about $2.5 million of the $3.5 million start-up cost of the Deep Run Plant, Mr. Ecker said.

The plant is needed to treat syrup waste after it goes through a smaller treatment center that will be built as part of Coca-Cola's new 900,000-square-foot plant.

"We're ready to move forward with any of our proposals," said James Irvin, Howard County's Public Works director. "We're just awaiting word back from them."

Katherine E. Whiting, regional director for public affairs for Coca-Cola Enterprises office in Columbia, did not return phone calls.

When Coca-Cola Enterprises disclosed in March 1993 its decision to build the plant, which it calls a "market service center," in Howard County, the company expected to open the plant in 1994.

However, the opening has been pushed back to an undetermined time. While grading work has been begun at the site, construction hasn't started.

Mr. Ecker said he "fully expects Coca-Cola" to move ahead with the project "at some point in time. They are tied up with other projects right now," he said.

Coca-Cola Enterprises is partly owned by Coca-Cola USA and holds a license to bottle and distribute Coca-Cola products. Coca-Cola USA manufactures the syrup concentrates; Coca-Cola Enterprises bottles and distributes the products.

The 122-acre site for the project was selected because it provides a central location in the market to be served by the plant, company officials have said. The bottling and syrup plant would employ 750 people.

The plant would serve most of Maryland, central Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Delaware and Northern Virginia.

Currently, Coca-Cola's soft drink syrups are made at three area plants and driven to 10 sales and distribution centers. There they are bottled and stored for later shipment to vendors.

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