Food plant

The exterior of Dickinson Frozen Foods, the subject of ongoing city negotiations, is pictured on Dec. 11.

Unrefined solids from Dickinson Frozen Foods continue to be a strain on Fruitland’s sewer pipes as they continue to require additional maintenance to blast away aggregations of these unrefined solids on a semi-regular basis, according to Public Works Director Jerry Campbell. Mayor Brian Hill asked Campbell during the Public Works report at the Dec. 9 City Council meeting whether blockages were still occurring in the city’s sewer pipes. Campbell replied that the lines have to be cleared out “every thirty days or so.”

This added maintenance has kept city workers busy as far back as 2017, when crews were first sent to break down the obstruction created by Dickinson Frozen Foods with high-pressure sewer jet hoses. Last month, Campbell brought up a concern pertaining to the wastewater apparatus at Dickinson’s site when he noticed what he described as a “bubble bath” all over the ground.

In a recent phone interview with Campbell regarding the ongoing wastewater issues associated with Dickinson’s system, he told the newspaper he had a meeting with the company’s representatives during the first week of December. At that meeting, he learned that Dickinsons had World Water Works perform an assessment of their water treatment system. World Water Works prepared “a list of deficiencies,” according to Campbell. He said that since the evaluation of the water treatment system, Dickinson has hired an independent engineer to

“help them determine how to address these deficiencies.”

Another issue that Campbell sees as a contributing factor to the wastewater issue is that Dickinson continues to expand its operation and “outgrow their system.”

Campbell said there is still data testing and “jar sampling” being done to determine what the priorities are and what needs to be done to meet these priorities. At present, city engineers are discussing these priorities with the engineer hired by Dickinson to effect some kind of feasible compromise.

Campbell said “they won’t have any answers until the end of the week or beginning of next.”

A request for comment from Dickinson was not returned by press time.

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