Study sought at Key plant on disposal of sewage

Commissioners' order calls for alternatives

April 20, 1999|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

The Board of County Commissioners ordered yesterday a study of "environmentally friendly alternatives" for disposing of the sewage at Francis Scott Key High School.

Advanced Systems, a New Windsor company that specializes in wastewater treatment systems, will conduct the study with assistance from the University of Maryland Extension Service.

The study is expected to cost $4,490 and take about two weeks, county Public Works Director J. Michael Evans told the commissioners yesterday.

The examination will assess the feasibility and cost of treating the liquid residue in the school's sewage with a process that kills the bacteria, allowing treated water to be used for irrigation. The solid part of the waste would be compacted and buried in a landfill.

Manchester uses a similar process to treat its sewage.

If an irrigation system is not possible, Advanced Systems will consider the feasibility of discharging the effluent into Little Pipe Creek near Route 75 and Ladiesburg Road. That would require laying pipe, which would cost $170,000, according to county estimates. The project would take about 18 months to complete, and the county would have to continue to pay $162,000 to have sewage hauled during that time.

The high school's sewage now is hauled daily to Westminster's treatment plant at a cost of about $110,000 a year. Evans has said it could be a year before the treatment plant is handling it.

Both options would require permits from the Maryland Department of the Environment.

When school officials built Key High School's $800,000 wastewater treatment plant last year to replace an aging septic system, they failed to obtain construction and discharge permits.

The oversight could mean steep fines for school officials, who are facing a lawsuit brought by a neighbor who wants the plant dismantled.

Under public pressure, school officials agreed this month to shift to the county the responsibility for getting the plant operating.

Pub Date: 4/20/99

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