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Sewage permit hearing postponed

by Tom Chillemi

A decision on the proposed Saluda wastewater treatment plant will be delayed at least until June to give the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) time to study land application as a means of disposing of treated wastewater from Urbanna and Saluda.

The State Water Control Board (SWCB) was scheduled to consider Middlesex County’s application for a 39,900-gallon-per-day treatment plant on Monday, April 27. However, Middlesex County asked the SWCB to delay a decision via an April 23 letter from county administrator Charles Culley Jr.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) confirmed last week the Saluda treatment plant permit issue had been removed from Monday’s SWCB agenda.

On Tuesday, the HRSD commission agreed to study land application disposal of treated wastewater

The study would be only for land application disposal, not a treatment plant, and would include flows from what HRSD considers “central Middlesex,” including Urbanna and the proposed Saluda plant, said Jim Pyne, chief of the Small Communities Division of HRSD.

Culley wants a decision soon. “The current economic climate provides for a great savings potential for Middlesex County on construction of our sewer infrastructure and we would certainly like to have a decision on our permit application at the June [SWCB] meeting,” he wrote in his April 23 letter.

Culley continued, “Continuing to wait for other studies beyond this point could adversely affect construction costs if the President’s stimulus money helps the economy and construction costs jump.”

As proposed, the Saluda plant would discharge into a ditch behind the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office. The ditch flows into Urbanna Creek.

The HRSD study idea was a result of a “sewage summit” held April 14 that brought together state and local officials and citizens to consider alternatives to dumping treated wastewater into Urbanna Creek. With land application, the treated wastewater is used to irrigate vegetation.

A land application treatment plant is operating in Westmoreland County near Coles Point.

A private land application treatment plant in Remlik, about 3 miles west of Urbanna, has been operating for about 20 years and has a permit to treat 36,000 gallons per day.

A specific date for June’s SWCB meeting has not been set, said Jeremy Kazio of the DEQ this week. As soon as a date is set, it will be announced on the Virginia Department of Evironmental Quality website.

Kazio added that the SWCB’s decision regarding the Middlesex Courthouse WWTP will be made at the June meeting. The meeting agenda will be posted about 2 to 3 weeks prior to the meeting at the following website: Virginia Regulatory Town Hall.

posted 04.29.2009

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