According to Knox Mayor Rick Chambers the City has had to stop accepting waste water from MPI. The company and the City have run into problems that have not been solved yet. Kelly Clemons, the Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent talked about the problem.
“Basically, the problem is that the detergents that they’re giving us is just more than what our system can handle,” explained Clemons. “Our Treatment Plant is just too small to handle the amounts they have with the growth they’ve had over the years.”
We asked if the soap is affecting the equipment.
“That’s right,” said Clemons. “It affects the processes that we have, not so much the equipment, but the processes and the Plant just can’t handle it.”
One of the problems is that the soap restricts the ultra-violet light from doing its job.
“Right now the only problem that we’re really seeing with the amounts that they’re giving us at this time is that our UV lights can not penetrate to get to the bacteria. There are tiny bubbles in the water that are preventing the UV from penetrating to the bacteria and killing off the bacteria.”
Kelly praised MPI for trying to cure the problem, and said she is hopeful it will be solved soon.
“MPI has worked very hard to treat their waste and to take other items out, their metals out of their waste water. Right now we’re just dealing with the detergent, the soap, and Territorial Engineering is working on a system to take that out and I’m understanding that looks very promising right now. I do see a solution here shortly.”
Before this week, the plant was accepting 800 gallons of discharge from the plant per day. When it was doubled to 1,600 gallons is when problems occurred again.
Although MPI is licensed by IDEM to discharge the soapy water into the system, the Wastewater Treatment Plant is going out of compliance when the UV lights fail to do their job.