State Bans Sewer Hookups
Submitted by Webmaster on Thu, 04/15/2010 – 12:00

Local moratorium stymies economic growth

Pamlico County suffered a devastating economic setback this week when state regulators nixed all future sewer hookups by Bay River Metropolitan Sewerage District. The ban, which local sewer officials hope will be short-term, requires a public hearing before the moratorium takes effect May 24.

In a sternly worded letter dated April 9, David May, the Aquifer Protection Regional Supervisor for the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources cited the crux of the problem:

“The infiltration ponds at the River Dunes site are not functioning as designed,” wrote May.

These reservoirs, also known as basins, were supposedly constructed as a conduit for highly treated wastewater to reenter the environment. Unfortunately, recent tests confirm the ponds are ‘infiltrating’ at only a micro-percentage of the 300,000 gallon per day rate required by a state permit.

For the past three months, effluent from the Oriental treatment plant – one of two operated by the sewer district – has been intentionally diverted by pumping it 20 miles away to a pine plantation just north of Arapahoe.

There, the effluent is sprayed, in keeping with the sewer system’s commitment to avoid direct discharge into creeks, waterways, or even the Neuse River. However, the sprayfield can receive no more than 500,000 gallons per day.

That limit on disposal translates into a limit on capacity, despite the fact that the sewer district’s two plants have a combined treatment capability of 800,000 gallons per day.

Any fix will likely prove costly.

The board of directors for the sewer district meets Thursday night, April 15, at 7 p.m.

The district office is behind First Citizens Bank in Bayboro. The meeting is open to the public.
N.C. Division of Water Quality Letter:
April 9, 2010

Mr. Art Hough
Bay River Metropolitan Sewerage District
Post Office Box 758
Bayboro, North Carolina 28515

Subject: Notification of Sewer Moratorium
Permit No. WQ0013348

Dear Mr. Hough:

The Division of Water Quality has determined that the Bay River Metropolitan Sewerage District (BRMSD) Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Facility is unable to adequately collect and treat waste tributary to its wastewater treatment facility. The determination is based on the fact that the infiltration ponds at the River Dunes site are not functioning as designed. As such, all wastewater from the Oriental and Bayboro wastewater treatment facilities is being disposed of its wastewater at the Arapahoe spray site, which is designed to 500,000 gallons per day. The two facilities’ average influent flow for 2009 was 460,000 gallons per day, which is 92 percent of available capacity.

North Carolina General Statute 143-215.67(a) states in part, that no person subject to the provisions of . . . (various provision of the same chapter) . . . shall cause or allow the discharge of any wastes to a waste-disposal system in excess of the capacity of the disposal system, or of any wastes which the disposal system cannot adequately treat. Should these terms be violated, 143-215.67(c) states a moratorium may be imposed “on the addition of waste to a treatment works” if the treatment works is not capable of adequately treating additional waste.

The wastewater treatment system can no longer adequately dispose of the wastewater that is coming into the system. Therefore, BRMSD is hereby placed on a sewer moratorium (with no new sewer taps or extensions) at its wastewater treatment plants effective May 24, 2010.

This moratorium will remain in effect until BRMSD has sufficiently demonstrated that it can adequately dispose of the wastewater coming into its facilities and has obtained written permission from the Division of Water Quality suspending the moratorium.

As required by 143-215.67(d), BRMSD shall give public notice that a moratorium will be placed on the discharge of additional waste to BRMSD’s treatment works within 15 days of receipt of this letter. BRMSD shall give public notice of the moratorium by publication of the notice one time in a newspaper having general circulation in the county in which the treatment works is located.

Correspondence pertaining to this moratorium should be sent to 943 Washington Square Mall, Washington, NC 27889. If you have any questions about this letter, please contact David May at (252) 948-3939.


David May
Aquifer Protection Regional Supervisor
Washington Regional Office
Division of Water Quality
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources


One response to this post.

  1. As Dale Swiggett says, ‘you can’t be a prophet in your own home tome.’ This is the Cassandra the Prophetess syndrome.

    It’s time we all pull our heads out of the sand and start paying attn to what needs to happen to ensure water quality.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: