Rock HIll City Council

Rock Hill's new wastewater test will find contaminants sooner

adouglas@heraldonline.comNovember 11, 2013 

— Some Rock Hill industrial businesses soon will be paying more per month for a new test that will reveal possible contaminants in wastewater before the water arrives at the city’s treatment plant.

The new test and fee will affect 17 industrial business, city officials say.

Trucks hauling waste to Rock Hill’s treatment facility also will be subject to the test.

Rock Hill already uses a test to control all industrial wastewater and sewage water entering its plant. But the current method has a waiting period of five days before test results are known.

The new test will give city officials a result within hours and help Rock Hill and some of its industrial utility customers spot problems with contaminants sooner.

The City Council approved the testing fee and changes Monday night.

The businesses affected have welcomed the change, said Rock Hill’s Deputy City Manager Jimmy Bagley.

The fee increase among the 17 businesses affected varies, depending on the volume of wastewater produced.

In the long run, Bagley said, paying a little more money for a better test could actually save those businesses money.

For example, if an industrial business discharges unexpected or particularly harmful contaminants, Rock Hill would charge that business more for the extra treatment that would be required, he said.

With the new testing method, the business would know sooner whether its wastewater has unexpected contaminants and can respond before it reaches the treatment plant.

The federal Clean Water Act regulates the way utility companies or municipal utilities handle wastewater and treat water before its returned to lakes or rivers.

In Rock Hill, city officials must treat wastewater at the city’s plant before releasing the water into the Catawba River.

The city must follow federal and state guidelines that regulate the water quality.

The new, faster testing method will help Rock Hill better monitor the wastewater dumped by some trucks that pay to use the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

With quicker results, Bagley said, the city will be better able to pinpoint which truck dumped unwanted or unexpected contaminants.

For industrial businesses subject to testing and located in the city, officials monitor their wastewater on site. Many of those businesses also use pretreatment methods to further ensure contaminant-free wastewater is flowing into the treatment plant.

The fee will add nearly $172 to one of the affected industrial business’ monthly testing fee. For others, Bagley said, the increase is less. One customer saw a reduction in fees as a result of the new test.

In other action on Monday night, council members approved starting the second phase of road work on West White Street, in Rock Hill’s former textile area.

Contractors have completed improvements to the road between Dave Lyle Boulevard and North Wilson Street.

The second phase – which coordinates with economic development strategies planned in the area – will stretch a mile between North Wilson and Adams streets.

Rock Hill expects to spend about $4 million on the road work’s second phase which will include adding sidewalks, repaving, widening West White Street in some places and adding on-street parking.

The project includes adding decorative lighting, burying existing utility lines and building a stormwater retention pond that will aid new development anticipated on the site of the old Rock Hill Printing & Finishing Co. plant.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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