County seeking permit to discharge into Alum Creek

By Alberta Stojkovic - The Sentinel

MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Commissioners recently approved an agreement with Geosyntec Consultants, Inc. to evaluate water quality impact of direct discharge of treated sewage into Alum Creek.

Sewage from the area at SR 61 and Interstate 71 is currently being treated at a lagoon treatment facility, Southern Morrow County (SoMoCo) Sanitary, Inc. on County Road 218. SoMoCo is seeking a change in its NPDES permit (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit) to allow dispensing treated waste into Alum Creek.

At this time treated liquid sewage from the lagoon is being sprayed on fields in the area. With the additional growth of Dollar Tree Distribution Warehouse and other businesses in the area near the I-71 pnterchange, commissioners had an analysis by Poggemeyer Design Group last summer concerning the operation and viability of the lagoon system.

The study found that there are ongoing problems with both the lagoon and the application of treated sewage to sites at the wastewater treatment plant. Commissioners decided they needed to look at what other options are possible for the disposal of treated waste water. An option being evaluated is the direct surface water discharge into Alum Creek.

Commissioner Warren Davis said SoMoCo Sanitary transferred in July 2018 from a private business, owned by Fishburn Services, Inc. to the Morrow County Sanitary Service District which already operates waste management for Chesterville and Johnsville. To change the present permit SoMoCo has that allows them to put treated waste on land, they must evaluate the impact of discharge of waste on water quality into Alum Creek.

The “Wasteload Allocation Determination” will be done by Geosyntec using stream monitoring and modeling according to Ohio EPA regulations, policies and guidance. The agreement states Geosyntec will identify pollutants of concern and meeting with Ohio EPA, develop a plan, and do sampling, flow monitoring, wasteload allocation and a final technical memo. The total cost estimate is $36,000 for the study.

The present treatment lagoon facility was put in 22 years ago on CR 218. It was installed and run by Fishburn Services until July 2018 when it was transferred to Morrow County Sanitary Service District.

In the April 22 Commissioners meeting, Peru Township resident Susan Devol asked about the continuing spraying of liquid waste on bare fields. She noted that this is not according to EPA standards.

Davis replied that the county now owns SoMoCo and is working on having ground cover on fields as per government regulations. He added that the lagoon treatment system at SoMoCo was failing for some time although it was still viable. Under county management they are seeking to make changes such as measuring the outflow, which hasn’t been done for some time.

“Our goal is to improve the system,” Davis said. “We are getting the aeration system up and running and sowing green ground cover on the fields to handle absorption and erosion. We are making improvements to the entire system.”

By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel