From: Chase Squires, St. Petersburg Times
Published December 30, 2004 12:00 AM

Waste Processing Plan at Dade City, Florida Juice Plant Fizzles

DADE CITY, Fla. — For would-be environmental entrepreneur Brian "Jack" McCully, his vision of a brave new world of industrial waste processing wasn't to be.


McCully in June agreed to pay $500,000 for about 17 acres on the Pasco Beverage site, including heavy industrial equipment, plus another 120 acres of adjacent land with a dream of operating his company, Florida Southwestern Environmental Inc.


The venture would have used a revolutionary method of employing the vacuum of an evaporation tower to strip salts from industrial incinerator runoff, called leachate.


The tainted water would have emerged pure, and the collected salts -- sodium, magnesium, and calcium -- could be collected and used to cover landfills.


But bad timing, and bad weather, conspired against the venture, McCully said Tuesday.


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The company last week agreed to hand back the property to Pasco Beverage in lieu of foreclosure. "The hurricanes delayed some contracts, and we just ran out of time," McCully said.


He said the concept of using industrial distillation equipment to purify wastewater still is a better way of handling a dirty job and remains sound.


"It's a great idea, it's the right application," he said. "Sometimes good ideas don't take off."


Pasco Beverage has sold off its juice packaging and shuttered most of the plant. The company has been selling chunks of property for about a year, and as of this month has virtually shut down, although cleanup operations are expected to keep some vestige of Pasco Beverage management involved on site until at least May.


As part of the sale, McCully's company had agreed to continue running the onsite sewage treatment plant, a facility that still could be needed to handle waste as new owners create an industrial park on the property just north of Dade City along U.S. 301.


Dade City Manager Harold Sample said the city has had discussions with the new owners.


Although simply accepting the new industrial waste into the city's sewer system would use capacity at the city treatment plant, Sample said a better solution could be for the city to provide expertise to keep the industrial treatment plant operating.


It won't be cheap, Sample said, but if the city wants to annex the entire property into city limits, some help might have to be offered.


Source: Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News


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