CAMDEN — Councilman Kelly Doran is urging the Village of Camden and its council to figure out a way to develop a water and sewer system on U.S. 127, eventually moving their reach to the north.
During a council meeting on Thursday, March 15, Doran broached the topic of a leachate agreement Preble County has with Lakengren. He noted, on Wednesday, March 14, a commissioner reached out to him with a question.
“I guess they’re having problems with their leachate at the landfill. This miracle leachate scheme they came up with at Lakengren isn’t working. The Lakengren lift station cannot handle the leachate fast enough. I guess they’ve had all types of problems with their pumps and their equipment. They’ve had leaks, along the road and back of the landfill. It’s just been glorious for the taxpayers,” Doran said.
“The question from the commissioner was, does Camden have excess capacity? When there is a rain event, they need a relief valve. They need to haul leachate and they’re currently hauling it to Middletown for 15 cents a gallon. No one had the common sense or courtesy to pick up the phone and ask us if we’d do it — I’m not surprised. I guess they spent another $40,000 in treatment, over the $917,000 they already spent at Lakengren over the last six years.
“Lakengren wants them to spend another $400,000 to bypass their problem and build them a direct line to their plant. At your expense. They’ve paid them $900,000 so far in the contract, and the contract is another 14 years, and they want us to finance their business proposition. Point is, not to skewer the commissioners. Point is, we do have the excess capacity to handle things in a pinch for them and it would be at least a courtesy to our tax payers to bring the leachate here at a much lower rate.”
He added, Camden was in the running for the leachate contract and the commissioners chose Lakengren over them. According to Doran, the difference between the two bids over 20 years was $7,000.
“The numbers on this are disastrous and it is only getting worse,” Doran said. “If the commissioners were smart, instead of spending $400,000 to build an additional line for Lakengren, they would take that $400,000 and help us build a line from the landfill to us. We would finance the difference, run water with it, and you would have an economic zone on U.S. 127 to rival all else in the county. You have water, you have sewer, you have natural gas, you have the highway, and have massive amount of electricity up there.
“We need to figure out a way, even without them, to build water and sewer up there and move north eventually. Figure out how to make that a real boon to this area. Not just us, but this area. It is very doable. We need to think about pushing water out, to Sugar Valley and State Route 725.”
He added, it would take years to develop a water and sewer system, but the contract with Lakengren is for 20 years, and currently the county is only in for six. He said, to grow, Camden needs to move to the north.
“We have the means, the building, the resources, we have the plant — we need to start looking that far in the next few years,” he said. “We definitely need to let them know that we’re open for business for this short term solution. We need to be poised, when that contract comes up for renewal in 14 years, that we have a line up there that can accept it.
“There is no reason that we shouldn’t have gotten that money that Lakengren got. They are a private company and we are a local government. They had to move heaven and earth to send that to Lakengren, it was not an easy endeavor. It would have been a natural thing for two local governments to partner on this.
“We need to start looking at running water and sewer up that way. We need to be ready. We need to be thinking long-term.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH