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Fertilizer discharge behind Apopka wastewater treatment plant issues

The city said the discharge from fertilizer company Anuvia is behind the issues at its wastewater plant.

The issue at hand is that the city isn't equipped to handle the wastewater it agreed to accept from the company.

A spokesperson released the following statement to investigative reporter Daralene Jones: “Our daily testing shows that we are well below our compliance levels from the city and the state in every chemical and element specifically listed in our permit. That said, our suspicion is the level of chemical oxygen demand is the issue. COD is absolutely harmless to humans - a can of soda has 15 times the amount of chemical oxygen demand that is found in our wastewater. As such, there is no mention of chemical oxygen demand in any of our permits with the city or state. However, it does cause issues to wastewater treatment facilities as it affects the microbes in the facility. Whatever the testing shows, Anuvia is committed to finding a solution at our facility and to make needed improvements to the city's facility to ensure (it) can handle the discharge that was permitted in the spring of 2014.”

The city is now paying an independent engineering firm up to $15,000 to figure out how it can fix the problem.