Treatment Plant Shut Down To Cut Costs

SNOW HILL –  County officials agreed to temporarily shut down the Landings Wastewater Treatment Plant to cut costs.

At the recommendation of staff, the Worcester County Commissioners last week approved plans to shut down the Landings Wastewater Treatment Plant for an extended period of time. During that time, wastewater generated in the Landings Service Area will be pumped to the Mystic Harbour Treatment Plant.

“The longer we can keep it going into one plant the more money we can save,” said John Ross, the county’s deputy director of public works.

According to Ross, the Landings Sanitary Service Area has struggled financially for some time. Growth in the service area has essentially stopped and the water treatment plant is expensive to operate. He said that staff believed there could be cost savings if the plant was shut down and wastewater from that service area was treated by the Mystic Harbour plant.

“We think there’s a real opportunity here to save some money,” Ross said.

Ross said the county would save electric and maintenance costs by shutting down the plant. He added that the county would, however, have to purchase two new pumps to send the wastewater to Mystic Harbour.

He said the Landings plant would have to be reopened eventually, as the Mystic Harbour plant wouldn’t be able to serve the area forever. Ross added that closing the Landings plant didn’t impact future capacity at Mystic Harbour because the county would reopen the Landings facility when Mystic Harbour’s remaining capacity was assigned.

Commissioner Josh Nordstrom asked if the savings outweighed the cost. Ross said shutting down the plant would save the county $40,000 to $50,000 per year. Purchasing the pumps will be a $20,000 to $30,000 one-time expense.

“This has to be a multi-year alternative,” Ross said, adding that state officials would need to approve the plan before the county could proceed.

Commissioner Bud Church questioned the impact the additional wastewater would have on the Mystic Harbour plant. Ross said the Mystic Harbour plant had 450,000 gallon per day capacity and was only using about half of it. The Landings plant currently treats about 50,000 gallons per day.

“As soon as we get to the point where we have, I don’t know, additional campgrounds at Frontier Town or Sea Oaks or whatever, eventually that capacity is spoken for. Then we’ll have to go back to Landings,” Ross said.

Church asked about the future expansion of the Mystic Harbour facility. Ross said it would depend on finding a place for spray irrigation.

“We’ve had some discussions with some other places to potentially take the spray which is really what it comes down to,” Ross said. “We need to find a place to get rid of the effluent… The plant’s going to be easy it’s all about where we can get the disposal.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.