Public Hearings - Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Plan Amendment

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PUBLIC HEARING - May 29, 2007

Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Plan Amendment


May 29, 2007

A Public Hearing was scheduled for May 29, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. in the County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, County Government Center, Chestertown, Maryland. The purpose of the hearing is to amend the Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Plan to include the proposed Worton Water and Wastewater System upgrades. Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, and Gail Owings, Director of Planning, were also in attendance. Approximately ten interested persons and one member of the media were also in attendance.

Commissioner Crow read the Notice of Public Hearing into the record.

The Commissioners propose upgrading of Worton Wastewater Plant to accommodate future growth within the existing delineated Worton Service Area. The proposed treatment facility will include new mechanical treatment using membrane treatment technology to meet Maryland’s enhanced nutrient removal requirements. The upgraded plant’s discharge rate will increase from 150,000 gallons per day, six months a year, to 250,000 gallons per day, 12 months per year. During the months of April through October, the County proposes to discharge the effluent via spray irrigation on agricultural fields located near Worton. The new wastewater plant will be constructed adjacent to the existing treatment lagoon. The existing lagoon will be converted to a storage facility to accommodate the spray irrigation application period requirements.

A new water treatment facility is also being designed to accommodate the anticipated growth in the Worton Service Area. The existing treatment facility will be upgraded and expanded. A second elevated water tower is proposed to improve domestic service and provide increased fire suppression capability for existing and future users.

Upgrades to the sewer force mains, pump stations, and gravity mains are also anticipated. These upgrades will be constructed in phases as each new project is approved. Upgrades to the infrastructure will be paid pro-rata by each developer in accordance with the project’s impact on the system.

Mr. Morris informed that the main purpose of the amendments is to assure that the Kent County Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Plan is consistent with plan approved by MDE. He noted that that before any construction plans can be approved, the proposed upgrades to the Worton Wastewater Plan need to be included in the Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan.

Comments were open to the audience.
Bill Crowding of Worton expressed concerns that MDE will eventually require a new system to be put into place and the system proposed will be obsolete which will cost the county and the tax payers more money.

Commissioner Fithian stated that the Commissioners are unable to know what the final product of the cost of the system will be. He stated that it was more economical to go with the larger plant now rather than later because the County would be gaining more capacity for the Worton area with less money spent. He reminded Mr. Crowding that his choice to endorse the $10 Million dollar plant had nothing to do with any projected growth in Worton. He noted that twelve years ago the town of Rock Hall built a plant with a ½ million gallon capacity that still is only at 45% capacity. He stated that a bigger plant was built to allow for hurricane waters and large rain falls that will need to be treated and to allow for a more environmentally friendly system. He stated that Rock Hall is happy to have the 55% comfort zone in order to deal with any errors that may take place. Commissioner Crow added that next to the larger system in Worton will be one of the largest commercial and industrial areas that will be tied into to this system.

Mr. Crowding expressed his belief that the higher the capacity and cost of the plant, the more houses that will be needed in Worton to pay for the plant.

Mr. Morris explained that if the 125,000 gallon plant was constructed, the capacity already would be maxed in consideration of projects planned at this time. To begin upgrading within such a short period of time would be far more expensive. He stated that the majority of the debt retirement on this system will be paid for by new developers coming in. He reminded that the projected rate schedule for the allocation fees is set to increase by approximately 2% each January to cover the debt carrying cost by the County.

Jerry Smith of Coopers Lane advised of his support of Mr. Crowding’s comments and felt the proposed project was an “over kill”. He also is fearful that this expansion will eventually provide for needs of Drayton Manor and Chesapeake Landing. He feels that the County needs a buffer to cover the costs of the plant. Commissioner Fithian questioned what type of buffer would be needed. Mr. Smith stated that he feels that the original plans of a 90,000 to 120,000 gallon tank would be acceptable. Commissioner Fithian stated that Mr. Smith is assuming the zoning of the area will be changed and stated that Mr. Smith was speaking of a zoning issue versus a treatment plant design issue.

Bob Kramer questioned the purpose of the hearing with the Maryland Department of the Environment. Mr. Morris provided clarification.

Mr. Crowding suggested that a cap be placed on the amount of houses that will be placed in the Worton area. Commissioner Pickrum stated that Kent County is going to grow, and that the Commissioners are unable to predict the future.

Cindy Fulton agreed with Commissioner Pickrum and stated that expansion is going to happen. She also stated that if growth is going to take place in Kent County, Worton is the ideal location for it since it is designated a growth area and that Worton has a good infrastructure. She feels it is reality that the Commissioners are dealing with and it is better to be prepared for future growth rather than patching as needed.

Commissioner Fithian reminded that much planning and hardwork have been involved for many years with previous administrators in molding and making Kent County the rural area that it is today.

Commissioner Crow informed that the County is going through the process of replacing the previous lagoon systems. He stated that when these systems were put into place, they were considered state of the art. Currently, these systems are being replaced with the newest state of the art mechanical plants. He stated that Worton is the last plant that needs to be replaced.

Mr. Smith stated that a cost analysis needs to be completed for the new system. Commissioner Fithian stated that a cost analysis would not be positive for this system. He stated that the number of homes in Kent County would not allow a cost analysis to come out positively. The purpose of the plan is to make it environmentally sound for the Worton area; having a buffer will make it accessible for years to come.

Ms. Fulton expressed appreciation for the open areas in Kent County and of the need to keep growth consolidated and keep the rest of the county pristine as agricultural areas.

This hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 10:55 a.m.


Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant
Roy W. Crow, President