DEQ staff: no changes needed in sewage permit
by Tom Chilllemi
On April 3, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released its responses to public comments made on the proposed Saluda wastewater treatment plant.
The proposed $5 million plant would serve the Middlesex Courthouse, county offices and Middlesex High School.
The lengthy DEQ comments address wastewater issues that were raised during the public comment period, such as pumping and hauling wastewater; building a pipeline; alternative disposal methods such as land application; discharging into the Rappahannock River; and environmental concerns.
Regarding land application and other issues, part of the DEQ staff’s response is: “The Department of Environmental Quality does not have the authority to require specific wastewater treatment alternatives to an applicant or permittee.”
The DEQ staff also commented, “The permittee (Middlesex County) has also considered joining into the proposed sewage line that will serve the Mathews area, which will be directed to the HRSD (Hampton Roads Sanitation District) and to the York River WWTP (wastewater treatment plant).
“It was determined, through a study conducted by HRSD and paid for by the permittee (Middlesex), that the construction of a sewage trunk line of this length would not be as cost effective (upwards of 3-4 times more) as building a wastewater treatment facility within the county.”
Most of the comments made by citizens or officials were answered with: “DEQ staff recommends that no change to the proposed permit is necessary in response to these comments.”
The application is for “re-issuance” of a permit issued in December 2003 that expired on December 10, 2008.
The State Water Control Board (SWCB) is expected to make a decision on the Saluda discharge permit at its meeting on Monday, April 27, in Richmond.
Those who commented during the public comment period will be permitted to address the SWCB at its meeting. However, the SWCB guidelines state, “New information will not be accepted at the meeting. The Board expects comments and information on a regulatory action or pending case decision to be submitted during the established public comment periods. However, the Board recognizes that in rare instances, new information may become available after the close of the public comment period. To provide for consideration of and ensure the appropriate review of this new information, persons who commented during the prior public comment period shall submit the new information to the Department of Environmental Quality staff at least 10 days prior to the Board meeting.”