One town's waste may become Greencastle's treasure

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Greencastle city officials think they have found the perfect solution for generating more revenue for the sewage department -- trouble is, the idea really stinks.

On Wednesday, members of the Board of Works talked about beginning to treat sewage from homes and businesses outside the city limits and charging them 7 cents per gallon that is processed.

"I think that's a good idea," board member Thom Morris said.

City Attorney Laurie Hardwick said she would prefer that the service be available only to residents and businesses within Putnam and adjacent counties.

Officials said they weren't sure how the idea would be received by members of the city council, who would have to set the rate at which customers could be charged, or the public itself.

"I think right now we don't know what kind of interest we're going to have," Mayor Nancy Michael said.

But sewer plant Superintendent George Russell said he thought the plan may generate interest among residents of Edgelea, a subdivision just outside the Greencastle city limits that is experiencing problems with septic tanks.

"It's a good way to generate some income," Russell said.

Board members seemed to be supportive of the overall plan but expressed an interest in seeing the city set some guidelines and make sure what goes into the sewage plant won't damage it.

The city attorney said she could draft an agreement that would make residents and businesses liable if the sewage they bring to the plant causes damage.

An example would be sewage that contains gasoline.

Board members gave their unanimous approval to setting the rate to receive sewage at 7 cents per gallon, but the city council will have to vote to accept it.

Some of the other specifics of the plan will have to be ironed out later.

In other business, the board:

* Approved amending the Greencastle Fire Department's standard operation procedures manual to allow firefighters working for the department to live not only in Putnam County, but within contiguous counties. Fire Chief Bill Newgent said this brings the department in line with what is already allowed by state statute.

The Greencastle Board of Works meets at 4 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month, at city hall.

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