Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Permit application rouses residents

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MIAMIVILLE - Clermont County officials have pledged to hold a "town hall" meeting this month to address concerns about the county's application for a permit to discharge treated wastewater into the Little Miami River.

Residents in this small Miami Township village contend that the county wants to locate a sewage-disposal treatment facility along the banks of the river at Wards Corner Road near Ohio 126. They say such a development would pollute the river and spoil their quaint, bucolic neighborhood.

But on Monday, during the county commissioners' evening meeting in Batavia, officials flatly denied that any such plan is in the works.

"So far all the county has done is identify general problems with on-site (sewage) systems in that area," said County Administrator David Spinney.

Clermont County did apply to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for a permit to discharge into the Little Miami, but it is nowhere near ready to build a treatment plant, said Tom Yeager, director of the county's utilities department.

Other entities in Warren and Hamilton counties have also applied to the OEPA for permits to discharge into the Little Miami. "We felt it was prudent to get in line," Yeager said.

He added that coordinates contained in Clermont's application, which pinpoint an area in Miamiville, do not mean the county wants to build on that site.

"The coordinates in the application are of the existing Wards Corner discharge facility," Yeager said, adding that the county hopes to determine the viability of the site.

Residents worry that if a treatment plant were built in the area, near the Little Miami Scenic Trail, it would spoil the environment and drive away hikers, bicyclists and canoeists.

Officials said there is a significant need for a new waste-treatment plant in the area, but there is no guarantee that any new plant - if it were to be built - would be located in Miamiville.

The county does need to replace two facilities that are reaching their life expectancies, he said. There have also been septic system failures in the area, which could endanger the county's drinking water.

A new waste-treatment plant would protect all county residents, officials said, adding that it is unknown when the OEPA will decide on the county's application.

A date for the town meeting will be announced.


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