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Monday deadline for Super Jail to stop clogs

By Ana Sajfert
Friday, November 15, 2002 - 17:00
Local News - The Superjail has until Monday Nov. 18 to employ a new waste disposal system and stop clogging the town’s sewer system with food waste, Penetanguishene council charged at its working committee of council meeting last week.

And by Nov. 28, councillors commanded, there should be no more latex gloves, toothbrushes and food containers flowing inside the pipes enroute to the Fox Street sewage plant.

That’s the bottom line, said town chief administrative officer George Vadeboncoeur.

“If they don’t comply, we’ll issue another letter with the same tight deadline, and if they don’t comply, then we’ll go to court,” said Vadeboncoeur.

Council was especially alarmed when it learned that the bacteria level suspected to be coming from the Central North Correctional Centre measured 1,000 per cent above the legal level.

Coun. Dan LaRose repetitively demanded “it’s over” during the Wednesday night meeting, while insisting on tighter deadlines for CNCC.

The biological oxygen demand level (BOD) peaked at 3,000 milligram per liter on Oct. 9 and nearly 1,200 earlier in September, said director of public works John Boucher.

Last week, acting on demands of town council, CNCC shut off its garburator, a waste food processor, to determine if it is solids, such as plastic, or liquids, like coffee, that are causing the high BOD.

“It’s not yet clear if the blockages are fully related to CNCC. But a majority of cleaning (of clogged pipes) takes place around CNCC and we’re coming across a lot of food wrappers, like ketchup and creamer containers,” he said.

One of the samples collected by the public works department and the town’s by-law enforcement officer is a legal sample of sewage effluent should this issue go before court, Vadeboncoeur said.

In this way the town of Penetanguishene assures it has solid legal grounds, Boucher said.

“We’ve taken one set of three bottles and will probably take a second set of samples now that the garburator has been shut off at CNCC. This is difficult to prove in court, even if the judge believes you, and so we’re proving we went through the chain of custody and none of the samples was tampered with.”

The legal samples have been transported to a lab in Peterborough.

Meanwhile, the town has submitted the bill of the cleaning effort to the province for a reimbursement, he said, while adding that expense excludes an additional $38,000 the town spent on hauling out sludge from CNCC.

“It’s not fair. You have a responsibility and that is to follow the by-laws of the municipality. It’s the same as speeding – you can’t just say you didn’t see the sign. You have to abide by the rules. Most people try to compost instead of using the garburator.”

Vadeboncoeur said the ultimate goal is to get the Management and Training Corporation Canada (MTC), which operates the jail, to comply without legal action.

“Out of roughly 250 by-law violations in town, only four have gone to court. You always get the odd one who doesn’t want to do it,” he said. “They are looking at it more seriously now.”

One of the options under review by the MTC is to hire a company to pick up food waste.

Vadeboncoeur said the MTC has already made a commitment to him and Mayor Anita Dubeau to solve this problem.

“But it’s the province we’re concerned about. They don’t move very fast in terms of putting in place a solution and so unless there is pressure, things won’t change.”

Vadeboncoeur said the province was supposed to install an auger monster at CNCC several months ago. As of today, the province is still reviewing this decision, which could cost between $250,000-$500,000.

“But we are pursuing the matter more aggressively now,” said Vadeboncoeur

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