March 7, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
Barbara R. VanTil, Water Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, U.S. EPA, Region 5, has responded to a request by the president of Portsmouth City Council, to extend the public comment period on the city’s Long Term Control Plan (LTCP).
With the cutoff date for filing comments on the EPA’s website being March 1, Council President Steve Sturgill asked that it be changed. In a letter to VanTil, Sturgill gave several reasons why he needs more time, saying he needs more information to justify an additional $1.25 million in planning costs.
Sturgill ended his comments with, “I hereby request that the U.S. EPA extend the public comment period for 60 days and conduct an additional public hearing near the end of the 60 day extension. This will provide Portsmouth City Council time to collect, review and make public information noted above. It will also allow citizens the opportunity to review the additional information and to provide feedback to the EPA. Should the U.S. EPA grant this request, I will have the information we utilize forwarded to you for posting on the agency’s website as appropriate.”
VanTil responded with an e-mail, “Thank your participation in the Feb.12, 2012 public meeting regarding the Administrative Order on Consent proposed between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, and the City of Portsmouth. We are in receipt of your letter expressing concerns on behalf of the City Council with respect to your understanding of what the Order commits the City to do. You also requested that EPA extend the public comment period. EPA hereby grants an extension of the public comment period through May 3, 2013. I understand the City’s wastewater director, Richard Duncan, has committed to providing City council additional information on the proposed work.”
The Long Term Control Plan is intended to address various wastewater-related concerns in the city of Portsmouth, including:
1. Elimination of basement flooding and improvement of drainage capacity in the Grandview Avenue area.
2. Removal of inflow and infiltration of groundwater from sewers in the North Moreland area.
3. Removal of sanitary sewage from the Lawson Run Sewer to reduce combined sewer overflows.
These and other issues are included in an implementation schedule contained in a proposed administrative order.
The City and the EPA have been in negotiations in order to develop a plan of action that will be both affordable and effective in improving the City’s sewer system.
Sudhir V. Desai, Environmental Engineer, Water Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Branch of the U.S. EPA, Region 5, said the public can submit their statements in writing through the website www.epa.gov/region5/water/portsmouth. Those wishing to mail their comments, may do so to Sudhir Desai, Environmental Engineer, Water Division, U.S. EPA Region 5 (WC-15J) 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Illinois 60604-3590.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.