Callaway and Bay Co. Work Toward AWT Solution

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PANAMA CITY-- Bay County and the City of Callaway are still at odds over repairs to an Advanced Wastewater Treatment lift station.

The two sides met again Tuesday, and did make some progress. But there's still no decision as to who's responsible for the repairs.

Bay County staff presented the county's Cherry Street lift station proposal Tuesday.

And now it's Callaway's turn to respond, but it may not be that simple.

Engineers representing Callaway and the county are citing different reasons the station is giving off a foul odor.

"The county's consultant was asking for chemical treatment upstream of the lift station at Cherry Street at Veteran's Park. Our consultant was saying just replace the odor control system," Callaway City Attorney Kevin Obos said.

Obos says that makes it difficult to say who's responsible for the nearly $470,000 worth of repairs, as well as future needed modification.

County staff suggest an additional study of the city's collection system with the two sides splitting the cost of the study.

Callaway would handle any modifications to its collection system, and costs to modify the AWT system itself would be an AWT expense.

But Callaway officials say they'd rather use that money to begin injecting chemicals they say would clear up the gas problem and the smell.

"It's upstream versus at the station," Obos said. "So our proposal would say instead of spending more money on consultant and engineers to study upstream, let's just agree to some sort of limited chemical injection."

Obos is hoping for a compromise.

"That way each side gets some of what they wanted, and we hope that it will work," he said. "And that way, neither side really has to claim the victory. As long as it stops smelling, I think it will be a victory for the citizens."

Bay County officials did not want to comment on the issue.

Callaway Commissioners will write a response to the county's proposal, and the two sides will meet again on September 2nd.