Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 15, 2013

Officials try to sort through SunChemical shutdown

WURTLAND — City officials in Wurtland just don’t know yet exactly how the sudden closure of SunChemical Performance Pigments will affect the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

One thing is clear though: the specialized plant will not see the same volume and type of waste. But what that means remains a mystery.

“I don’t know what is going to happen, but things will have to change,” said Mayor Donna Hayes at a special city commission meeting early this week.  “We are working through it and we can hold on a while and that’s what we plan on doing,” she said.

Hayes said the entire city was caught off guard by the announcement last week that the plant was closing but plans to be as transparent as possible about its affect and the way forward for the city. “We’re going to share everything,” said Hayes.

The plant was designed by SunChemical when it was built in the 1990s but financed by the city, who still owes a debt service on it. Continuing to pay for it, after losing such a large customer is a concern of officials.

Wurtland currently contracts with Veolia to operate the waste treatment plant but that relationship is uncertain too.  It’s a relationship the city has been very pleased with, Hayes noted, praising its current operator John Haskins several times throughout the meeting.

That relationship could change though. “We just don’t know,” Hayes said.

SunChemical officials have informed the city that cleanup will take 4 to 6 weeks and that there would continue to be a water flow from that facility during that time.  After that, officials expect to see a significant drop in volume and type of sewage.

In theory, they expect lower operating costs including those for electric, chemicals and staffing. Instead of a massive volume of industrial waste, the plant will receive mostly residential sewage.

“Everything will change,” said Haskins, explaining different chemicals will be needed, how often its sludge needs pressed and removed will change and the type of “bugs” it has will need modifying too.

“You are going to be on the total opposite end for domestic sewage,” said Haskins. “Now until we see some numbers without PCI’s discharges,” he said, exactly what needs adjusting and by how much is unknown.

Greenup city officials along with county officials are also waiting anxiously to see how the closure will affect the water plant.  After more than five years of discussing a regional sewer project, Greenup finally signed on late last year to have its waste water piped to Wurtland for treatment creating the Greenup Joint Sewer Agency and the Greenup Waste Water District. The initial line from Greenup to Wurtland is expected to cost $1.87 million ad is being paid for using Kentucky Infrastructure Authority funds, secured years ago for the project.  Eventually, sewer lines are expected to be extended into Lloyd and other unincorporated parts of the county.

Hayes and Wurtland officials believe this will be key to making the massive water treatment plant continue to be viable.  “We didn’t ask you to come aboard to make money,” Hayes stressed. “We need you and you need us.”

Greenup’s own sewer plant is aging and needs replacing or shuttering, hence the move to join Wurtland.

City officials, including Wurtland’s commissioner of water and sewer Tony Smith, also discussed the option of attracting additional septic haulers and other sewage sources to generate revenue and material for the plant.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

Text Only
Local News
  • 04/18/2014 — What's Happening

    Local news

    April 18, 2014

  • Bill3.jpg 'Dreams'

    It was in her own death that Donna Schoonover helped William Schoonover redefine his life.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • guyp-rodnew.jpg 'Uplifting people'

    The snow kept gospel singer Guy Penrod chilling a little longer than it should have this spring.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418star0024.jpg Raising the roof

    Leaks will soon be a thing of the past at Star Elementary School, where workers are busy putting up a new roof.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire at Russell care facility

    A care facility for the elderly in Russell was temporarily evacuated following a fire in the kitchen Wednesday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • Incumbent, newcomer vie for PVA position

    A longtime office-holder is facing a rare primary challenge in the Greenup County property valuation administrator race.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs: 4/18/14

    Inspections and roadway patching on Ky. 773’s twin bridges in Carter County will require daytime closures Wednesday and Thursday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Corps issues safety advice to boaters

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District, reminds boaters the areas immediately upstream and downstream of navigation dams on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers have been designated as restricted areas. 

    April 17, 2014

  • Police beat: 4/18/14

    The following information was taken from Ashland Police Department reports:

    April 17, 2014

  • Lana Bellamy: Waking up America's youth: 4/18/14

    I once read a quote by a man saying the reason today’s youth do not have the same “spunk” as youth in the past is because they do not have inspiration.

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone