Charter Rights
Story Archives
Sign Our Guestbook
View Guestbook
Contact Capp @   or   Post Comments  CAPP Message Board   and  Any Upcoming Events

Jail's garbage problem is 'horrendous'

Janis Leering: The Mirror
11/04/02 00:00:00

Toothbrushes, rubber gloves, packets of ketchup, syringes, and creamers areall being found at the Penetanguishene sewage plant, just downstream from the jail.

But that's just one of the problems that council has been facing over the past few months at the Fox Street Sewage System.

The Town of Penetanguishene has seen two major problems at the sewage plant, one dealing with plastic products being put into the system, and another with the amount of food going down the drain.

Councillors at Wednesday night's meeting discussed whether to press charges against Management and Training Corporation-Canada, the company running the jail, for throwing garbage down the drain.

The kitchen at the jail has a garburator, which cuts up organic waste such as food leftovers.

It's the coffee, milk, orange juice and food which are being poured down the drain that is causing a problem. In order for those items to break down in the sewage system, they need oxygen. But because there is such a high quantity of it running down the sink at the jail, it takes up too much oxygen when it is breaking down, and that results in the growth of bacteria in the sewage system.

It takes staff two weeks to clean out the bacteria using chlorine, and it is costing the town big dollars.

"Normally, our maximum measurement of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) we are able to have is 300," said chief executive officer George Vadeboncoeur. "We've had readings at the super jail that are close to 3,000 in the last few months."

Coun. Dan LaRose was very frustrated with the findings. "This isn't just a 'whoops' look what happened, this is horrendous, and we're allowing this to happen. This is an unacceptable practice, and it should be stopped, by noon tomorrow," said LaRose.

"We are taking these oxygen tests, and that is costing us. I care what has been done to our plant, and MTC should be paying for any of the tests we are taking."

He also suggested there is a bylaw to prevent citizens from throwing plastic materials into the toilet or sink.

Doug Thomson, facility administrator at the jail, has promised council the garburator will be turned off this week, to see if that will alleviate the oxygen problem. If it does, the jail will stop using a garburator altogether.

"That's fine, but since they've been polluting our system for the past three or four months, when staff tells us the sludge isn't settling this winter, and we need to pay for an extra truck to haul it, who gets screwed in the meantime?" said LaRose.

He wants council to start the process to lay charges against MTC Canada for putting things into the sewer that it should not have. Deputy Mayor Randy Robbins threatened to turn off the taps until the problem is solved.

"We've been strung along before, like when we asked the minister if the jail would pay taxes, and they are not. I'm tired of hearing that MTC would like to do something, but they don't own the building. Maybe we should reduce their inflow until they solve this," said Robbins.

Mayor Anita Dubeau was doing her best to keep the meeting under control, and although she agreed with the statements council made, she wants to make sure the town takes the proper legal steps of dealing with the situation.

"I want to make sure we are on sound legal ground, and follow our bylaws before we lay charges."

The town knows the oxygen problem is being caused by the jail, but it cannot point fingers when it comes to the plastic problem.

"It's really difficult to prove, because the language in the bylaw is so general. We have to have really good documentation that it is causing our pump to clog and we've had to repair it," said John Boucher, director of public works.

But the catch is that staff clean the screens daily in order to prevent the sewer system from clogging.

The cost of cleaning the plastic items and getting rid of bacteria in the system has cost the town approximately $38,000 so far.

In comparison, the jail has paid $31,000 to use the sewer system. Council ordered Boucher to do another oxygen test on Thursday afternoon, and to send a warning letter to MTC to fix the problem immediately.

| Post Any Upcoming Events | Top of Page | Home Page | Post Comments on Message Board |