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Springfield City Council rejects plant's wastewater request
City Manager Brett Bennett addresses the council during Thursday's meeting at the Effingham County Administrative Complex. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD -- The Springfield City Council swiftly and unanimously rejected DRT America's request to dispose of thousands of gallons of wastewater in the city's wastewater treatment facility.

The council took only five minutes to handle the lone item on the agenda for Thursday's meeting at the Effingham County Administrative Complex. The move drew light applause from about two dozen citizens.

Before the vote, City Manager Brett Bennett challenged some of the comments made in opposition to the request during last week's public hearing on the matter. About 60 people attended the hearing and a dozen asked the council to deny the wastewater request. 

A much smaller crowd witnessed the actual vote.

Bennett, citing city documents, said Springfield's Harris C. Hinely Sr. Sewage Treatment is operating at about 50 percent capacity, treating about 302,000 gallons of wastewater per day. Some speakers at the public hearing suggested the facility was nearing its capacity.

DRT America's Effingham County plant, located in the Gov. Treutlen Industrial Park, wanted to send 56,000 gallons of pretreated water to Springfield each day. The plant is designed to take crude sulfate turpentine and process it into other products that can be used in perfume, adhesives and gum. 

Bennett challenged other points made during the hearing, including the claim that the city is near the maximum number of gallons of groundwater it can draw each day. He said the city is using just 42 percent of its allowable total.

The city manager told the council, "I just wanted to clear up a few things just so you are aware of the facts."

Ninety seconds later, the city approved Councilman's Gary Weitman's motion to deny DRT America's request.