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Ohio EPA Schedules Meeting to Discuss Permit Renewal for Geauga County Wastewater Treatment Plant

A request to renew a Bainbridge Township wastewater treatment plant’s discharge permit will be the focus of a Feb. 22, 2012, Ohio EPA public meeting. The information session and public hearing will begin at 6 p.m. at the Bainbridge Township Town Hall located at 17826 Chillicothe Road in Chagrin Falls.

Ohio EPA is reviewing an application submitted by the Geauga County Department of Water Resources to renew its discharge permit for the McFarland Creek wastewater treatment plant located at 17630 Chagrin River Road. The application includes a request to allow the plant to continue discharging mercury to McFarland Creek and the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River at levels that exceed the 1.3 parts per trillion (ppt) limit required in the existing permit.

To achieve the 1.3 ppt discharge limit, the county would have to install extremely costly technology that would result in substantial economic impacts. Ohio EPA has evaluated the cost and feasibility of this approach and determined that a more effective way to lower the mercury impact is to reduce the amount of mercury being put into the wastewater system. Therefore, in order to receive a variance from the mercury limit, the county would be required to identify the sources of mercury that go to the treatment plant and take steps to minimize the mercury releases from those sources.

Comments on the renewal application may be presented at the Feb. 22 hearing or submitted in writing to Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, Permits Processing Unit, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049 or emailed to Chris Bowman. The public comment period ends March 12, 2012. Following consideration of public comments, Ohio EPA will make a decision on the application.

The application and related materials are available for review at Ohio EPA’s Northeast District Office in Twinsburg by first calling (330) 963-1200.

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