City penalized $11,500 for bulk sewage application on a Jones County farm

The Havelock Board of Commissioners heard details of the city’s $11,500 fine from the Environmental Protection Agency during a meeting on Monday night.

The fine was for a violation involving bulk sewage application on a Jones County farm in 2014.

City Manager Frank Bottorff said the fine had been $37,500 but was reduced “based on the minimal severity of what has occurred.” He added that procedural errors that were part of the reason for the fine had been corrected.

Bill Ebron, public services director, said reporting done by a former worker at the city’s sewer plant were not in accordance with new EPA regulations.

“We’ve noticed that a lot of the procedures that we were following down at the sewer plant were not the correct ones,” Ebron said, pointing out the city sample schedule for its biosolids “sludge” was not being followed.

“We’re on the straight and narrow now,” Ebron told the board.

Bottorff said that the city conducted a complete sewer plant review.

Ebron said that an aeration system installed in 1998 has failed in the 500,000-gallon sludge storage tank and that correcting the problem is estimated to cost nearly $83,000.