Stakeholders including residents and wastewater treatment plant operators gathered in Middletown last night for a meeting with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency. This was the first step in determining new pollution limits for the Floyds Fork watershed.
The state says Floyds Fork is impaired, which means the waterway can’t fulfill its designated functions. The state Division of Water has asked the EPA to help determine the maximum amount of pollution that can be discharged into the watershed without exceeding the state water quality standard.
At the meeting tonight, EPA officials explained the process they’ll use to calculate the pollution limits. Jory Becker of the Division of Water says once the EPA determines that number, it’ll be up to the state to divvy out the pollution limits between treatment plants and smaller polluters.
“You got the waste load allocation for the point sources—those are the permit holders. And then there’s the other part for the storm water runoff and the other things like agriculture and non-point sources and there’ll be a chunk for that,” Becker said. “And we’ll have to decide how the reductions go from there.”
The Metropolitan Sewer District is a major stakeholder in the process. Spokesman Brian Bingham says if MSD is eventually told it won’t be allowed to discharge as much wastewater, it’ll cost customers.
“What it essentially will mean is we’ll have to change the processes at our treatment plants, or potentially build what’s essentially a water treatment plant on the back of the wastewater treatment plant,” he said. “So there are technologies out there, they just add significant costs to the community.”
The EPA’s role in the process is expected to be completed by November next year. Another meeting is planned for this November to update stakeholders on the process.
The agency is looking for information about the watershed from residents—to submit information, email FloydsFork@epa.gov