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Jail works on garbage

Janis Leering: The Mirror
11/18/02 00:00:00

It may take a year for the Town of Penetanguishene to resolve the issue of plastics being put into the sewer system near the jail. George Vadeboncoeur, chief administrative officer with the town, said the ministry will take at least 32 weeks to install a proper sorting machine to get rid of the rubber gloves, toothbrushes, and other debris that is being dumped into the sewer station on Fox Street.

"The province has confirmed it has hired an engineer to design and install, and they are committed to putting in an auger grinder," said Vadeboncoeur.

Although the town can't confirm the jail is the source of the plastic items in the sewer, staff at the jail is working to solve the problem.

Mike Mously, deputy of operations at the Central North Correctional Centre, said the solution must come from the ministry.

"Whenever possible, we control what is issued to the inmates, but this is not different than any other correctional facility," Mously said.

"The ministry is now talking to the town about how to deal with this problem, so the items will be sorted before they go to the sewer system. Any equipment installation is handled by the ministry."

The second problem is food waste being put into the sewer system in Penetanguishene. The town spoke to Management and Training Corporation- Canada (MTC-Canada) about the organic material, and learned a garburator was being used to grind the food so it would fit down the kitchen sink.

Organic waste in a sewer uses a lot of oxygen when it is breaking down, and when there isn't enough oxygen in the system, bacteria starts to grow. The Town of Penetanguishene has spent money on chlorine to kill the bacteria, caused by the lack of oxygen in the sewers.

Mously said the garburator was turned off on Nov. 8, to test for a week and see if that will fix the problem.

"We used to put all of the food waste through the garburator, but now all kitchen waste goes into the garbage. We are satisfied that plan is working."

He was not sure what the cost is to the jail for disposing of all the waste in the same manner.

"We thought it would be more, but it's not looking too bad. But we haven't been using it long enough to really say."

Vadeboncoeur said MTC-Canada has complied with the town's request, and the town tested for oxygen in the system at 2 p.m. on Nov. 8.

"We also tested again on Nov. 14, and have shipped the results off to a laboratory in Lakefield. It takes five days for the process, so we should know the results this week," he said. "But as far as our plant goes, the oxygen levels have been up, and it looks good. We won't know for sure until the tests come back."

Mayor Anita Dubeau said what has happened in the sewer system is unacceptable. She is pleased council is taking a tough stance on the issue by sending a warning letter to MTC-Canada about the two issues.

"We are adhering to our dates of compliance in the correspondence we sent to the jail. It's frustrating that council has been given promises on so many things, and we are fighting to come full circle," said Dubeau.

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