Coke Wastewater Straining City Resources, Officials Claim
Wastewater from a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Northampton, Mass., is becoming costly for public facilities to treat, leading the city to investigate revisions to treatment surcharge rates, reports the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
The City of Northampton’s Board of Public Works is set to decide whether to increase one surcharge rate and create a new rate for customers with high levels of wastewater pollutants, the paper reports. Two separate consultants have recommended the surcharge increase and new rate.
“We are providing a service and we are not getting paid for it,” city engineer James Laurila said, while Board of Public Works chairman Terry Culhane said the company’s “sugary” discharges are difficult for the city to treat.
“Coke is sending stuff in that’s way above the target. The process can’t work long enough on the water to eat it all,” Culhane said.
Problems arose after Coke completed a $50 million, 13,000-square-foot expansion to the facility last year. The expansion included a new pre-treatment facility at the plant that according to Laurila “is not quite working as they had hoped” and as such is passing costs onto the public’s accounts, the paper reports.
Coca-Cola did not give comment to the Gazette by press time.
In its 2010 sustainability report, released in February this year, the beverage giant estimated that its facilities have reused more than 2,294,000 kiloliters of rainwater or treated wastewater. About 39 percent of Coca-Cola facilities have indicated that they reuse water before or after treatment.
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