Decision pending on development’s sewer plant permit
A decision on granting the permit for the Snake Eyes Lane sewer plant at the planned Mountain Springs development in southern Morgan County won’t be made for another month or two, said Tom Aluise of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Aluise told The Morgan Messenger last week that the completed transcripts of the March 27 public hearing had just been typed up and distributed to the members of the DEP’s Water & Waste Water Management Division.
The application by Sovereign Homes of Winchester, Va. seeks approval to construct a wastewater treatment plant to process sewage from upwards of 1,900 people in 425 homes across two proposed developments near Snake Eyes Lane.
The sewer plant would discharge 157,300 gallons of treated water per day into Sleepy Creek.
Citizens proclaimed strong opposition to the sewer plant at the March public hearing.
Sixty residents showed up for the hearing and of the 20 who spoke, only one person spoke in favor of the sewer plant and that was the person who sold the land to the developer.
Cacapon Park expansion
Community activist Charles Biggs, in a letter to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, questioned whether the proposed sewer plant would prevent the expansion of facilities at Cacapon State Park.
In his letter, Biggs said that if the sewer plant is built, it will use up Total Daily Maximum Load (TDML) for Sleepy Creek allowed by Chesapeake Bay Initiative requirements. This could prevent the upgrade of the existing sewer system at Cacapon needed for the park’s expansion project, he said.
But Yogesh Patel, assistant director of Permits at the DEP’s Water & Waste Water Management Division, said the Snakes Eyes Lane permit, if granted, would have “no impact whatsoever on the expansion at Cacapon State Park.”
Patel explained that the park already has a sewer system that has been calculated into the daily TDML and the new technology proposed for the park expansion will actually decrease the amount of nutrients the system now discharges into the creek.
He said the proposed permit for the Snake Eyes Lane plant is just a permit for the construction of the facility.
“They will have to offset every drop of discharge from that plant,” Patel said. “There is no load granted with the permit.”
This means that in order to operate, the new plant will have to purchase offsets for its entire discharge from another district that is under its TDML requirements.
While none of this addresses the environmental impact on Sleepy Creek, that is considered during the DEP’s decision-making process.
“No permit is going to allow any single stream to exceed its daily maximum load,” Aluise said.