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Cost Of Cleaning Up Raleigh's Wastewater Plant Adding Up Fast

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RALEIGH, N.C. — By some estimates, cleaning up after Raleigh's troubled wastewater plant could cost $10 million.

Dean Naujoks monitors the plant for the Neuse River Foundation. He said he was optimistic about the new plant manager, who took on the task Monday.

"I am interested in the fact that he's from Cary," Naujoks said. "I'm really interested in the sludge pellet system there. I'd like to see innovative practices like that employed in Raleigh."

Some of the plant's old practices came to a halt when the city was fined for overspraying sludge on nearby crop fields. The city has learned that the soil is so contaminated, the city won't be allowed to resume spraying anytime soon.

Raleigh will have to switch to a more expensive method instead.

"We will have to take the sludge off-site as compost, or to be applied as liquid to fields," Mayor Charles Meeker said. "The cost of that varies, but it will be several hundred thousand dollars a year more than we're currently paying."

Mayor Meeker believes the city also will have to repair and replace equipment at the plant.

The council has already agreed to build a $250,000 water line for families whose wells are contaminated.

The state has yet to spell out what it will require. The entire process could take years, and the tab is adding up fast.

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