August 1, 2015
The Environmental Protection Agency’s held its required public hearing on the proposed “remediation” of the outfall ditch on Terry Creek as promised at the Brunswick Public Library, where all of the documentation is on file. Citizens are invited to provide written comments by August 14, according to instructions found here:
Of some seven scenarios considered, the EPA staff prefers ALTERNATIVE 4A: CONCRETE-LINED CHANNEL WITHIN EXISTING CHANNEL WITH LIMITED SEDIMENT REMOVAL
Alternative $A includes construction of a concrete-lined channel within the existing Outfall Ditch. The concrete-lined channel would be trapezoidal in shape, matching the cross-sectional dimensions of the rerouted concrete-lined channel described in Alternative 4. This alternative also includes excavation and offsite disposal of approximately 12,800 cubic yards of contaminated sediments within the Triple Box Culvert and in the bottom of the Outfall Ditch to obtain the profile needed to convey the discharge water, and removal of the weir. Restoration of disturbed areas, a monitoring and maintenance plan and an environmental covenant are included.
What seems to have been left out of consideration:
Regular effluent testing
Storm water pre-treatment before it enters the ditch
Off-site contamination by the removed soil
More knowledgeable people suggested a combination of Alternative 2 and Alternative 5. The object of the “environmental covenant” is to keep people out of the area — a proposal that’s unlikely to be reassuring to the Riverside neighborhood directly across the marsh.
The hearing on the renewal of an air permit for the Brunswick Cellulose plant was no more reassuring. It seems that the reason no public notification was given immediately when the power supply to the plant crashed (on August 22, 2014) and hydrogen sulfide gasses were vented (as planned) to prevent an explosion that might be damaging to the plant was because such venting is a relatively common event and the operators did not consider the direction of the wind or the effect of an air inversion over the plant. Air monitors were probably inoperable and collect data every three days anyway. In other words, there’s not an emergency response protocol in place.
Randall Morris invited citizens to contact him, tour the plant and discuss their concerns directly.
Mr. Morris claims that $700 million dollars have recently been invested in upgrading the plant. It might be worth while getting an itemized list.
The draft permit for the Brunswick Cellulose plant can be found here:
The comment period ended June 8, but since a public hearing was requested, there seems to be an additional 45 days during which concerns are considered. We are all in a learning posture.
The Brunswick/Glynn Joint Water and Sewer Commission is going to be receiving and reviewing the update of its long range master plan on Wednesday, August 5th, at a meeting that is scheduled from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the new facility on Gloucester Street.