Many thanks to Patti Silva of Miltonville.com for bringing this to our attention.
Courtesy: Cherokee Ledger News Tom Brooks
A public hearing on an environmental permit sought for a proposed wastewater treatment facility that would serve northeastern Cherokee County is scheduled for March 18.
The plans for the Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority (CCWSA) plant has drawn opposition from area residents who say the facility would threaten water quality and lead to high-density development in rural areas of northeastern Cherokee and in the region.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has scheduled the public hearing for Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Canton City Hall, 151 Elizabeth St. in downtown Canton.
Tuesday’s public hearing is part of the regulatory process for the development of a draft permit known as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Draft NPDES permits are presented to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EDA) for review before state approval.
The CCWSA is seeking approval for a permit to allow for treatment of up to 8 million gallons of sewerage per day, with plans for the initial phase of the plant to have a capacity for 2 million gallons per day, said CCWSA Environmental Affairs Manager David Kubala.
Construction of the facility near the Coker’s Chapel Road water plant off East Cherokee Drive would take about one year to 18 months after the project is started, and the construction for the full capacity would be years later in the future, Kubala said.
The proposed plant has drawn opposition from residents of the city of Milton in northern Fulton County who have advocated for a “no sewer” policy to keep development at rural levels.
Milton City Councilwoman Julie Zahner Bailey stated in a Web blog last month that the proposed treatment plant would allow for the North Georgia Water Planning District’s long-term plan for “regionalization” of water treatment in the Etowah River Basin with a plant in Cherokee that would allow for service in neighboring Forsyth and Fulton counties.
“My position on the long standing no sewer policies for this unique area of the region has not changed,” she stated.“I believe these policies mean no sewer expansion regardless of the basin in which the parcels lie.”
Outcry over the proposed plant from Milton residents reportedly prompted the EPD to schedule the Canton hearing, which its official announcement states is to focus on water quality issues, and avoid land-use and other issues not part of the permit process.
Kubala said the plant is far beyond the service area for Milton and would require support of local officials in the city and Fulton County to conceivably lead to tie-ins with the city.
Opponents of the treatment plant are misinterpreting the “regionalization” language in the water planning district plan, Kubala said.“I know of no way currently that the city of Milton will be served by the Northeast Cherokee treatment plant,” Kubala said.
Northeastern Cherokee resident Linda Flory, an opponent of the treatment plant, said the treatment plant would pose a threat to water quality for the Etowah River and Lake Allatoona.
The long-term challenge of maintaining sewerage lines would eventually lead to failures similar to the city of Atlanta’s strained sewerage infrastructure, she said.
Flory, a board member of Cherokee Citizens for Responsible Growth, an organization that has opposed large housing developments in the county, said the treatment plant would lead to burdens on local infrastructure beyond sewerage as new growth of thousands of homes would ultimately follow its development.
“There has been widespread opposition from Cherokee County residents,” Flory said.
The treatment plant has been planned in recent years by the CCWSA to provide service for new development in northeastern Cherokee that has already garnered approval. Among the projects is a large housing development near the Etowah River, he added.
CCWSA officials are prepared for public input on the treatment plant project, Kubala said.
“We look forward to hearing what the public has to say,” Kubala said.