Northampton Massachusetts Struggles With Coca-Cola’s Waste
Northampton, a town of 29,000 people in Western Massachusetts, is home to a Coca-Cola plant that churns out several of Coke’s fruit juice lines. And that plant is also churning out wastewater that is becoming to expensive for Northampton’s wastewater treatment facility to process. Rising costs and the possibility of tensions increasing between a city and one of its largest employers is an example of how municipalities end up fronting and subsidizing the costs of a large company’s operations.
When Coke decided to increase the operating capacity of its Northampton plant, the expansion was hailed for the 100 jobs it added to the local economy. Coke benefited from over $2 million in state grants and tax credits that in part helped finance an on-site effluent treatment plant. But now that plant, which processes a bevy of drinks including Honest Tea and Minute Maid, is not able to handle all of the waste the facility generates.
The result is more sugary effluent that is difficult for the city to treat. That sugar creates high levels of bacteria, and by law the city cannot dump that waste into the Connecticut River. That is the good news. But while Northampton’s wastewater treatment system can handle the processing of the waste, the city pays for extra overtime, energy and the expenses of hauling the sludge to another site.
Photo of Northampton downtown, credit NoHo.com
Article continues at http//www.triplepundit.com/2012/03/northampton-coca-cola.