The levels of two elements found in wastewater prior to it being treated and sent downstream for future use isn’t a threat to anyone, but city officials are working with a pair of local companies to act now before any danger is posed.
City Manager Bill Fann said increased levels of molybdenum reported in wastewater from the Grady Road Landfill operated by Waste Industries and cadmium levels from The HON Co. are getting treated out like any other chemical found in local wastewater, but because those levels are over what their state Environmental Protection Division allows, they were required to notify the public through an Oct. 18 advertisement.
“It isn’t an issue or concern, or EPA would have gotten directly involved,” Fann said. “There isn’t a health hazard at this point, obviously we would have had to notify people of that as well.”
Fann said that discussions with Waste Industries and The HON Co. about the increased levels have been underway, and work to solve the problem is ongoing.
“Getting a handle on things before they get too far out of line is what it amounts to,” Fann said.
Neither the city or the pair of companies are clear about what is causing the increased levels, and additional testing efforts are also being undertaken to track down sources.
A representative from the HON Co. provided the following statement in No email last week from the company about the issue:
“Cadmium is not a stand-alone element we use in our processes. We are currently working through our processes and contractor processes to isolate the source and eliminate the levels reported,” it read. “The HON Co. remains committed to operating within all regulatory guidelines, and doing what is best for our community.”
Waste Industries’ George Gibbons came before the Polk County Commission and explained that they also are working on the problem, but they aren’t sure why the molybedenum numbers have increased. He said it could be coming from a variety of sources, and that until they are certain of the problem he didn’t want to speculate about the ultimate culprit. He did point to potential candidates for the issue, such as areas where previous breakdown of garbage in the landfill have allowed specific areas to hold more of the element than others, or that the byproduct of wastewater treatment that is hauled to the landfill and mixed in with garbage is causing levels to spike.
“It is all just a matter of pre-treatment. They are required to do pretreatment to get it into required levels. The pretreatment isn’t effective on those two items right now,” Fann said.