OSAGE | Despite Valent BioSciences expressing an interest in taking over the day-to-day operation of the pre-treatment facility, the Mitchell County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved ratifying the agreement between Mitchell County and the City of Osage as per the 2012 pre-treatment plant lease agreement, during its Tuesday, Oct. 31 meeting.

“Right now they (Valent BioSciences) have chemical people, in there, who do their plants all around the world,” said supervisor Joel Voaklander. “The hydrogen sulfide (H2S) out there is eating the metal. It’s even eaten a length of chain. H2S is produced when the material in the tanks gets septic.

“Tokyo (headquarters for Valent) has told them the smell has to go. Stirring, aeration and the scrubbers will reduce the smell.”

According to Voaklander, recent talks with Valent have revealed the company wishes to take over the management of the pre-treatment plant, which is owned by the county and ran by the city of Osage.

“Valent wants the employees to be Valent employees,” Voaklander said. “The city wants them to stay city employees, but Valant wants to have the ability to enforce what they want done. Right now, Valent isn’t able to tell them what to do, reprimand or even fire them if they fail to get things done the way management wants it to be done.

“We pay that bond to the tune of $1.2 million a year through special assessment tax. The county will own roughly $6 million of that facility once all is said and done. Valant has already taken over the supervising role in the plant, but if they are going to operate it, then the odor has to go away.”

Despite the new scrubbers currently functioning properly in the pre-treatment plant, they have been overwhelmed by the volume currently in the tanks.

“In the next two weeks they will really stink,” said Supervisor Shannon Paulus, “because they will be hauling sludge out.”

In other action, the supervisors voted unanimously to authorize County Attorney Mark Walk to further pursue the gathering of information in regards to opioid litigation.

“I think it’s a worthy cause,” Voaklander said. “We have to start somewhere in this country.”