By Calvin Palmer
Krispy Kreme doughnuts may melt in the mouth but they do not have quite the same effect in the sewer lines near the company’s plant in northern Virginia.
Fairfax County claims yeast and grease from the Lorton plant has damaged its sewer system and has filed a lawsuit following the company’s refusal to pay a $1.9 million repair bill.
Krispy Kreme says the charges are “unfounded”.
The Lorton plant produces some 83 million doughnuts in a year, according to the lawsuit.
The problems go back to 2004 and the lawsuit cites the damage was caused by “excessive quantities of highly corrosive wastes, doughnut grease and other pollutants”, leading to a sewer facility permeated by the smell of doughnuts, pipes clogged with corrosive slime and the resulting raw sewage leaks that eventually shut down the southern Fairfax sewer system.
When public officials attempted to run a closed-circuit camera down the sewer line to show the deposits of grease, the camera got stuck in the build-up of waste material, which officials claim destroyed iron pipes, mechanical pipes and other components of the sewer system.
Krispy Kreme spokesman Brian Little called the county’s claims “totally unfounded”.
“Krispy Kreme has occupied the Lorton location for more than four years and during that period of time has been over 99 percent compliant with all permits,” Little said. “Also, since April 2008, at the county’s request, we have not been discharging wastewater in Fairfax County.
“As a significant employer in Fairfax County for well over 30 years, we look forward to the opportunity to show that these charges are completely groundless.”
The lawsuit states that tests in 2008 showed the plant’s wastewater had “extremely high levels of pollutants”.
Fairfax County is seeking penalties as high as $17 million on top of the repair bill.
County leaders declined to comment.