Officials Trying to Resolve Veterans Park Deadly Problem

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PANAMA CITY - The toxic odor of hydrogen sulfide at the Veterans Park sewage lift station in Callaway continues to be a concern. Members of the Advanced Wastewater Treatment facility who own the station met Tuesday morning to discuss possible solutions.

Representatives of the Advanced Wastewater Treatment facility are meeting up for the first time in years to find a solution to a more than a decade-old problem in Callaway.

The sewage lift station is jointly owned by Parker, Springfield, Callaway, and Bay County commissions. Bay County is the operator.

During one of their trials, Bay County officials say hydrogen sulfide levels reached 13 times the amount they should be.

"Others can choose to assign blame if they so choose. That is not my role and that is not my goal. There are a variety of factors that could have led to this and we may never know all of those," said Callaway Mayor, Thomas Abbott.

Callaway and Bay County officials have pointed fingers at each other in the past over who's responsible for the problem, but increasing concerns over public safety are forcing them to set aside their differences.

Both are agreeing to pump wastewater out from the nearby Allenton lift station which feeds into Veterans Park.

"Reduce the dangerous levels that we've been reading in the wet well hopefully and we'll continue with rehab of that wet well pump," said Guy Tunnell, Bay County Commission chairman.

County officials believe Callaway's pipe and collections systems are at fault, but Callaway officials are hiring their own engineering firm to look at the problem.

Callaway's engineers will meet again in 30 days to compare them with the county's engineers. Then AWT members will decide who will have to pay for the lift station repairs.