The wastewater at Dickinson Frozen Foods has drawn concern from the citizens of the City of Fruitland since November of 2016, according to Public Works Director Jerry Campbell.

During Monday night’s meeting of the Fruitland City Council, Campbell told them he recently spotted a strange sight at Dickinson Frozen Foods. He saw what he described to be “foam” surrounding the wastewater apparatus at the Dickinson plant. In a recent phone interview describing the foam, Campbell said it was like “a bubble bath all over the ground.”

This observation from Campbell is the latest concern brought to the attention of city officials.

As far back as 2017, the city has sent crews to perform maintenance on the main sewer line. The build-up of solids that accumulate in the pipe must be removed using a high-pressure sewer jet hose. Campbell estimated that this extra work takes a crew of two workers an average of two to three hours each time the pipe needed to be cleaned. As he said, “Jet our line out to keep it flowing.”

Campbell also relayed that in the past Dickinson took the initiative to set up an evaluation by World Water Works. The report that was presented to Dickinson showed areas of improvement that the company had the opportunity to then review.

In October of 2018, Carl Hipwell, then City Engineer, said at that time that it was unlikely that any wastewater produced by Dickinson could begin discharging any of the water into the Payette River without first doing a full upgrade of their existing pre-treatment system.

Campbell said that when the issue of clogged sewer pipes began, the city gave Dickinson the benefit of the doubt as to them being the cause of the blockages. Extensive testing, however, determined that the solids aggregating in the pipes did, in fact, come from Dickinson. In an effort to remediate the problem, the company modified their existing clarifier to adapt to the solids.

As Campbell stated at Monday night’s City Council meeting, the clarifier does not always work 100% of the time as it is supposed to and the crews still need to be sent out to jet the line.

In response to what city officials have labeled as “non-compliance,” the City Council elected to have City Attorney Stephanie Bonney draft a strongly worded message to Dickinson about the company’s wastewater treatment practices.

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

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