Springfield Wants to Remain Neutral in AWT Debate

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SPRINGFIELD-- Attorneys are asking Springfield leaders to weigh in on the Advanced Wastewater Treatment conflict between Bay County and the City of Callaway.

Springfield wants to remain neutral until the other players make a decision, but the city may not be able to hold that position for long.

Bay County and the City of Callaway are butting heads over problems with the AWT Cherry Street lift station.

And more parties are becoming involved.

"It's more of a practical problem than a legal problem," Doug Sale, an attorney who represents both Springfield and Callaway, said.

The City of Springfield shares legal representation with Callaway, so its commission is now being asked to weigh in.

"We're going to stay neutral until they decide which route they want to go," Mayor of Springfield Ralph Hammond said.

Springfield is also one of several owners under Bay County's AWT operation, Mayor Hammond says the city's lift station has minimal gas build-up and minimal odor.

You may not be able to see much of a difference between the Springfield and Callaway life stations, but you can smell one.

That's one reason Springfield officials are hesitant to take a stance, at least until they have answers about what's causing the odor at Callaway's lift station.

"Why is it this one particular lift station? And that's what I'm waiting on the engineers to set down. We got the same 'materials' going through the line as they do. So why is theirs deteriorating?" Hammond said.

Moving forward, Sale says Springfield commissioners have three options.

They can agree with Callaway's position on who should fix the problem, agree with the county's position on who should fix it or take no position.

"Is it reasonable for the county to say we have to have a low-level hydrogen sulfide coming in? Is that reasonable? I don't know. The experts are going to have to say that," Sale said.

If the commission does take a side, Springfield and Callaway will have to use separate law firms to avoid a conflict of interest.

Attorney Kevin Obos, who also represents both Callaway and Springfield, agreed to represent Callaway at a workshop with Bay County officials next week.

He said he does not think anything definitive will happen, but he hopes everybody will come one step closer to a resolution.