Saturday, May 15, 2004

State approves treatment plant

Campbell facility to replace 3 older units

By Chris Mayhew
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Plans for a regional sewer plant that could lead to the end of a moratorium on new construction in southern Campbell County have won state approval.

The Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet of the Kentucky Division of Water issued a construction permit for the project Friday. Work is expected to begin soon.

The proposed $75 million treatment plant should be completed in 2-21/2 years, said Jeffrey A. Eger, general manager of Sanitation District No. 1. The plant would replace three existing wastewater systems: Alexandria, Southern Campbell County Industrial and Pond Creek.

Eger said the current system is old and deteriorated, and rain often causes the system to overflow. Eger estimated millions of gallons of untreated sewage have been released into the environment every year, and the new system will prevent that.

"What this means is the environment is going to be much better protected ... there should be zero release of sewage into the environment," he said.

A new treatment plant could also mean the Kentucky Division of Water might consider lifting the moratorium on new construction in Southern Campbell County, said Campbell County Judge-executive Steve Pendery.

"Having demonstrated that the money is put aside and the construction is under way, maybe we can start talking to them (division of water) about it," Pendery said.

Pendery said property owners would now be able to consider other options on how to use their land.

"It affects everybody - it's been a long time coming," he said.

The new treatment plant had raised criticism from the director of the Greater Cincinnati Water Works and the Cincinnati Health Commissioner because it would discharge 11 miles upriver from where Cincinnati gets its drinking water.

In Kentucky, state regulations require wastewater discharges be a minimum of 5 miles above the nearest drinking-water intake.

"I think that the concerns of Cincinnati Water Works were unfounded. Both EPA region 4 and 5 offered comments and said the level of protection and treatment was significant," Eger said "It is well beyond what they have required."

Eger said the water intake for a large portion of Northern Kentucky is very near the intake for Cincinnati.

The new plant will be off Ky. 10 near Brush Creek. Eger said the treated water will be piped 5 miles from the plant to the Ohio River.


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