Revenue opportunity means change in Greenville waste water treatment plant expansion

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 12:21 pm on Wednesday, April 04, 2012

GREENVILLE —Greenville’s waste water treatment plant will be able to receive and dispense leachate and septage once an expansion project is completed.

During Tuesday night’s Greenville City Council meeting, the council allowed City Manager George Bosanic to issue a change order to the expansion project to include the construction of the proposed structure to receive and dispense leachate (liquid that extracts solutes, suspended solids or any other matter through which it passes) and septage (waste disposed through a facility’s plumbing system).

Plant Superintendent Shawn Wheat told the council he has been doing research regarding a Michigan law that was recently changed allowing municipalities to receive septage from local haulers and charge for it.

“There is no one in this area that accepts it,” Wheat said and added the closest locations are Muskegon and Baldwin. “It’s an opportunity for us to accept it.”

Overall, it will save haulers time, mileage and fuel, he said.

In a description to the council, Bosanic said it’s an “untapped revenue stream for the city.”

“The amount being exported from that radius is worth over $250,000 a year,” Bosanic wrote.

Mayor Pro Tem Jeanne Cunliffe asked what would happen if someone brought in contaminated material that cannot be used.

The project would create holding tanks, according to Assistant City Manager Cameron Van Wyngarden. The material brought in would be kept separate until the load is tested then processed. If it is contaminated, it would be taken care of at the hauler’s cost.

“It’s a small possibility, but it can happen,” Wheat said.

Councilman Mark Lehman said he believes the Baldwin facility is operating on 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. basis and wanted to know if the Greenville facility would be run on a 24-7 basis.

Wheat said a 24-7 basis could be a possibility to look into because the plan is for each hauler to have a card. The card could ultimately be way for them to access the facility at different hours.

“We view this as a tremendous opportunity and one that will require some upfront cost, but the payback on the investment will be very short,” Bosanic wrote in his statement.

Councilman Brian Greene inquired about how long until the city is paid back.

“We estimate less than two years,” Van Wyngarden said.

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