Commissioners discuss leachate with Camden

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — The Village of Camden has requested consideration of partnering with the Preble County Board of Commissioners when addressing leachate generated in excess of the 60,000 gallons Lakengren currently is capable of handling.

This request began with a letter written to the board, dated July 9.

The letter states, “The Village of Camden recently learned that the rate of leachate generated at the county’s landfill exceeds previous expectations, and that the volume generated is now greater than the capacity of the sewer infrastructure that was constructed to deliver leachate from the landfill to Lakengren’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). It is also our understanding that, at least for some time, the county has been forced to deal with the excess leachate by paying to haul it to the City of Middletown’s WWTP 20 or more miles away.

“Finally, we understand that the county and Lakengren’s board have discussed a potential capital replacement or upgrade of the existing infrastructure that would enable additional leachate to be handled and treated at the Lakengren WWTP, the cost of which would be borne by the county, with hauling of excess leachate to the Middletown WWTP to continue until the potential replacement or upgrade is completed.

“The purpose of the letter is to propose an alternative for the Commissioners’ consideration that would (1) eliminate the need for a capital replacement or upgrade to the existing Lakengren infrastructure; (2) eliminate the outflow of revenue to Middletown caused by the current need to haul excess leachate; (3) eliminate the potential costs to county residents for improvements to the existing leachate delivery system; (4) provide the county an option to hauling leachate in the event of a future problem that interrupts the delivery of leachate to Lakengren; (5) promote economic development on U.S. 127 between the village and the county, consistent with Preble County’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and Land Use Plan.

“In short, the village proposes to take the excess leachate for treatment at its WWTP, to be transported there by tanker trucks owned by Goode Industries, a village employer, until the village constructs its planned gravity sewer extension north up U.S. 127 to the landfill entrance, at which time the excess leachate could then be discharged to the new sewer line.”

The letter then goes on to state the rationale for the village’s proposal.

Camden Councilman Kelly Doran and Village Solicitor Steve Haughey attended the Preble County Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 29, to follow up on the letter and present their case to the board once again.

“After we looked at the minutes from the last meeting, when the subject was discussed briefly, we wanted to come up here, because we wanted to make sure we were all on the same page and our facts were right. Obviously, if our facts are not right we want to get the right facts,” Haughey said.

“Our understanding is that the landfill has expanded, you are generating a fair amount more leachate then you have in previous years. You’ve been exceeding the capacity of your storage tanks and delivery system to Lakengren. You’re considering the possibility of having to either do some capital improvement to expand the delivery system or your storage capacity at the treatment plant. We also understand that at times, when the leachate capacity is high, the county has on some occasion been paying to transport excess leachate to Middletown,” Haughey said.

He added, there was a previous study stating Camden’s plant could handle leachate. Their proposal was that leachate excess to Lakengren’s capacity come to Camden, instead of spending money to expand Lakengren’s capacity. For some time, Haughey added, Camden has been interested in expanding water and sewer availability up U.S. 127 and this is a way to do that.

Some of Camden’s facts were not accurate originally, Haughey explained. Officials now understand, instead of transporting leachate to Middletown frequently, it is a less common event than the village first thought.

“If Camden could eventually get a commitment to anything over the 60,000 gallons, that would give us something to go to EPA with, or funding or source. Camden will have and does have the ability to finance this. We are in good shape,” Doran said. “I think, if we could get some sort of commitment for anything over 60,000, that is cash flow and the growth would come from that over the years. We’re interested in anything over what you’re contracted with Lakengren. When that comes up for renewal, we can talk about that then.”

Doran added, even if the existing infrastructure could handle the amount of leachate generated, Lakengren is not contracted for an amount over 60,000. Camden is not interested in interfering with the existing contract, but are hoping to be considered for anything outside the bounds of the contract.

Board President Chris Day responded, they will have to get with the Sanitary Engineer to answer the questions asked and find additional information before any decision is made.

“I can say that I fully support this idea, because it does put us and the county in a very good position. If there is any issue with either lines, we have two lines [as a backup],” Commissioner Denise Robertson said. “I fully support the contract with Lakengren, but I also fully support directing anything over 60,000 to Camden and creating this situation that is nothing but good for the county.”

“I think your proposal makes sense. My concern lies in I would hate to see you put a line in and be dependent upon leachate, because there may not be guarantees. I do agree with Denise, having another option is a no-brainer. Keeping the money in the county is not really an argument, because we are not spending much money on [transporting leachate to Middletown],” Commissioner Rodney Creech said.

“We are very satisfied with Lakengren’s contract, but having a second option is never a bad thing.”

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH