Ordinance in step with upgrade of water reclamation facility

May. 15, 2013 @ 05:23 PM

Henderson’s city council on Monday approved an update to the city’s sewer use ordinance, keeping it in compliance with new state and federal standards.

Among the standards included are what levels of certain waste products such as chemical waste are to be handled by the city system.

The ordinance was passed one night before the city held a ground-breaking ceremony for $18 million in upgrades to the Henderson Water Reclamation Facility on West Andrews Avenue.

Assistant City Manager Frank Frazier, after the council’s approval of the new standards, said that residential users would not be impacted.

“This applies to how we deal with industries and what is discharged into our sewer collection system,” Frazier said.

During an April work session to discuss the draft updates, City Manager Ray Griffin told council members the changes were close to a verbatim compliance with what the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state’s department of environmental and natural resources wanted.

“They are trying to make this standard all across North Carolina,” Griffin said. “Any changes we make would become a friction point with the state.”

The council kept the updated regulations as drafted, and they approved the new 44-page document for the city’s chapter 15 ordinance as part of a consent agenda on Monday.

Included in the changes are increases to the city’s enforcement authority. The wording is also made more concise, with outdated sections removed.

Frazier said he did not anticipate any Henderson area industries to have a problem with making the new adjustments. Those with state and federal permits for certain chemical and stronger waste materials are already in compliance with up-to-date standards.

“They have permits for certain waste strengths beyond domestic waste uses,” Frazier said.

Frazier added that to be in compliance, some industries are required to pre-treat waste substances before discharging into the city system. Statewide, some industries may have upgrades to do.

“As regulations change, there can always be some costs,” he said.

Frazier said regulation changes are a constant factor in the running of a major utility, adding that it has been one of the reasons for urgency in making the upgrades to the city’s sewer treatment facility.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.