PDT Staff Writer
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is opening a public comment period on the Clean Water Act Administrative Order on Consent that the EPA is considering entering into with the city of Portsmouth. The move would help reduce sewer overflows from Portsmouth’s sewers.
“Any citizen can e-mail in their comments to the EPA and have them reviewed and considered in the Long Term Control Plan,” Portsmouth Wastewater Director Rick Duncan said. “So it’s the first step in the public notification.”
Sudhir Desai, Environmental Engineer, Water Division, U.S. EPA, said the public comment period ends on March 1, and the public can submit their statements in writing through the website www.epa.gov/region5/water. 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.
“This is what we’ve been working on ever since I came back,” Duncan said. “That’s our Long Term Control Plan. The schedule right now looks pretty definite. This is basically the plan we have negotiated. (City) Council hasn’t approved it yet, and the EPA can’t approve it until they have a public comment period.”
The Long Term Control Plan covers Portsmouth’s wet weather overflows to the Ohio River and the Scioto River. The plan was originally submitted by former Portsmouth Mayor Jane Murray at a price of $70 million. Murray took office Jan. 4, 2010, and immediately fired three department heads. One of them, Sam Sutherland, later returned to the Water Treatment Plant, former Service Director Chris Murphy took a job in Municipal Court, and Duncan refused to return without a public apology from Murray. Murray was later recalled, and Duncan returned as Wastewater Director early in 2011.
“When I came back in, I said, we need to get EPA to revisit it,” Duncan said. “So our Long Term Control Plan that we have negotiated involves some rainwater, stormwater storage facilities in the Grandview (Avenue) area to reduce the flooding in the basement backups that we have had up there. It involves some sewer improvements in North Moreland, and it involves some other improvements to the Lawson Run Sewer.”
Duncan said The Long Term Control Plan is intended to address various wastewater-related concerns in the city of Portsmouth, including the elimination of basement flooding and improvement of drainage capacity in the Grandview Avenue area; removal of inflow and infiltration of groundwater from sewers in the North Moreland Area, and removal of sanitary sewage from the Lawson Run Sewer to reduce combined sewer overflows.
Duncan said there will also be a public hearing on the plan at the Flohr Lecture Hall at the Clark Library on the campus of Shawnee State University, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m.
A copy of the proposed Administrative Order on Consent and other information and documents are available at www.epa.gov/region5/water.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com.