Both short and long-term resolutions are elusive
Apopka City Administrator Glenn Irby disclosed additional details from Wednesday’s meeting between City of Apopka officials and Anuvia Plant Nutrient executives that do not paint an optimistic picture for the Zellwood-based fertilizer company to get back online with the wastewater treatment facility anytime soon.
After receiving a Cease Discharge Order from the City on Monday, Anuvia has been shut down and seeking options. But at the conclusion of the discussion, they remained offline and had no clear timetable for a restart.
“Staff explained to those present (at the meeting) that Anuvia must reduce the chemical loading to the plant to equal the new numbers presented in the proposed new agreement between them and the City,” Irby stated. “We explained that we could not accept waste from Anuvia until the City’s plant returns to normal operations, which could be 10 or more calendar days (from Wednesday). Anuvia offered a variety of proposals to come back online. It is to-be-determined on whether or not we can come to an agreement on how and when Anuvia can resume sending waste to the City.”
However, 10 or more days may be longer than Anuvia is willing to wait.
“We are exploring every option to restart as quickly as possible,” Yoder said. “Including multiple options outside of Apopka.”
Also undetermined is the new permit Anuvia will have to agree to if they are to continue once the wastewater treatment plant is stable enough to accept their waste again. However, it seems as though both sides are far apart in negotiations on that as well.
“Staff’s position was that the elements of the proposed agreement are our minimum requirements,” said Irby.
On Monday, Yoder seemed to say the new proposed permit requirements were too stringent for Anuvia to reach.
“The parameters the city proposed are impossible to meet quickly,” she said. “They are significantly lower than what was suggested in the Woodard & Curran report, and I believe we will need to adjust those levels if we are to continue doing business with the City of Apopka.”
However in her statement today (after the Wednesday meeting) it sounds as though the two sides are at least a little closer to a resolve.
“There are multiple steps we believe will lower the levels, but we must run to test any proposed steps before knowing for sure,” she said.
Irby also disclosed what happened at the plant over the weekend to cause the City to send the Cease Discharge Order to Anuvia.
“The plant went into an upset condition over the weekend. It is not possible to say specifically what caused the disruption. Based on testing we’ve done and on the report of our outside consultant, it is our firm belief that elements of Anuvia’s waste stream arrived at the plant in such quantities that the plant is unable to process it.”
He also acknowledged that Anuvia never broke its original permit parameters.
“The elements of Anuvia’s waste stream believed to be at the heart of the disruptions were not required to be measured in the original permit, nor were they required to be measured by the FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection).”
And while Irby and the City sympathize with Anuvia’s work stoppage, keeping the wastewater facility safe and stable is their priority.
“We value Anuvia, and we understand the disruption this has caused to their business,” he said. “At the same time, the City has an obligation to operate its wastewater facility to protect the environment, the public health and the safety of our employees. Both the City and Anuvia must be mutually assured that Anuvia’s operation does not disrupt the City’s wastewater facility. We are open to discussing any and all realistic solutions.”