St. Cloud rejects a settlement from disposal company

City leaders in St. Cloud have rejected a settlement offer from a disposal company that has a contract to dump leachate from coal ash at the city’s wastewater treatment facility. Leachate is water that has percolated through a solid and leached out some of the constituents.

The disposal contract, set up by a previous council according to current members, allowed the dumping, but in June, council members voted to stop allowing the substance for fear of potential long term health effects.

That move prompted Waste Connections of Osceola, Inc. to threaten legal action and propose a settlement for the city for breaching their contract.

After public discussion, city council members decided to maintain their ban on the dumping and to seek advice from an environmental testing firm to find out if the city’s reclaimed water was being affected by the leachate.

They will also seek an expert attorney to defend the city of St. Cloud if Waste Connections of Osceola goes forward with a breach of contract lawsuit. If the city were to lose, officials say they could have to pay out more than $3 million.