June, 1999, the City of Scottville voted in favor of a resolution to go regional with their sewage treatment. The City would also be allowed to use part of their existing system for treatment. The City has changed their mind, and you need to know!
Want some striking History?
Some quick history, the City of Scottville NPDES Permit, allegedly the oldest expired permit in the State. It expired in 1978. They have violated this permit numerous times during their discharges into the Pere Marquette River. Today, the City and DEQ claims the City is now under a temporary NPDES Permit. We have never seen this, unless the ACO is the permit. When does the DEQ give out permits for illegal discharges to our rivers?
State of the Art
The City of Scottville says that their system that was built in 1963 was "state of the art." "only the rules have changed," says Mayor George Wilson, leader of the band. ...........Well that isn't quite the case. The City built a system to handle 195,000 gpd, but according to their records, this state of the art system was treating on the average 500,000 gpd . You see, the city built a state of the art system, but hooked it up to a crumbling sewage infrastructure.
Please hang with this, you must get more of the picture.....
The City was warned on a number of occasions to stop overflowing to the river and to fix their infrastructure (which has a minimum infiltration rate of not less than 65% according to their engineer) beginning in 1970. Even if it was on a block by block basis. When the city attempted to separate storm water they did separate it at one point, but tied it back into the main sewer line.
How the light came out of the tunnel.
Not until the City was asked to provide sewer services for a gas station and McDonald's outside the City Limits did their problems come to light. The DEQ told they new young City Manager they could not add any services because their system was overloaded.
The City was told to repair a control structure at their system to allow for proper treatment. This had been allowing sewage to bypass Pond 2 ( 1 of 3 pond system) for nearly 25 years or more.
Regional Plan, deception.
In June of this year, the City Commission voted and passed a regional plan to treat their system. The County of Mason rallied around the city and helped sliced their capital cost from over 3 million dollars to 1.4 million dollars. However, just two weeks ago, the City voted to stay in house for 2.4 million dollars siting the per month cost in 20 years from now would be more than they could afford. This figure they have come up with are estimates only. This is not a new study, but an engineer who who says you are state of the art!
Filling wetlands for sewage lagoons?
More importantly, they plan on filling or constructing a new lagoon in a wetland and flood plain of the Pere Marquette River. May I remind you all that this is a State and Federal Natural Wild and Scenic River! The City having an alternate to go regional and not disrupt any more of this once highly regarded river or it's ecosystem has chosen if need be to annex property outside their City Limits, against numerous river front landowners wishes. In fact, in all the meetings the City has held in PRIVATE for the purpose of this one (or so they say) land acquisitions, they only contacted the property owner two weeks ago. They are not residents of Scottville. The City claims that they were public hearings on these alternatives, and these people were not there at the time. Well, these people are not residents and there was no mention of buying or annexing by the domain laws of this properties.
Today it's this, tomorrow, HOLD ON!
The City claims they would have to add another lagoon even if they went regional. Do they? The City was given an option to use what capacity they have at their lagoons and send the remaining to Ludington for treatment. Kind of a have our cake and eat it too. But what they don't tell you is that when it comes to having to expand or the EPA decides to stop this WWTF from discharging into this protected rivers, they will need even more property to try to get a permit to irrigate their discharges.
I hear so much about urban sprawl. Just recently Meijer was permitted to fill a wetland in Ludington for another new store. Wal-Mart was allowed to do the same years ago. Now as Wal-Mart puts Meijer in their sites with the soon coming grocery additions, were will the environmentalists be? There were no where to be found! I guess fenced in mitigating wetlands are the new beauty that the public is to be sold on! There were other sites available for these stores, but no sewage services! Why! Because one city needed to hide their sewage secret. And not until a young City Manager with vision tried to take on this problem was there an attempt to fix a broken down infrastructure. Needless to say he no longer is the City Manager. I would like to thank Tim Klunder, former City Manager to trying to take on 30 years of politics. More importantly I think Jim and Freda Henry should be your environmentalist of the year for West Michigan, standing alone, taking on this debacle. You see, it's their campground that the sewage gets dumped on.
Sprawl, sewage....Don't go near the water!
Fecal Coliforms counts are at times too numbers to count when an overflow occurs. Does the City even post this when an overflow occurs? No, not once. Put it in the paper, yes, informed the tourist by posting, no! Where does the next phase of construction go for services along the US 10 corridor. The city says they want to attract others to obtain services from them. The City's new systems will treat 225,000 gpd. Their estimates of treatment for this new system is 200,000 gpd. Where is the growth allowance there? Sprawl issue? Yes, Indeed!
per resident. However, as the Mayor and the commission want to represent that they want growth and more of a tax base, they say this will be too much to pay in 20 years. (It's not too much to pay now with their new 2.4 million alternative.) They want growth, but fail to consider the rates go down with more using the system! So, singing this song, 2 weeks ago the city unveiled a plan to stay in house. This plan was not a part of any public meeting. The city said they went into numerous closed sessions to discuss this ONE parcel they want to annex, and only decided on it two weeks ago. However, documents show they have had this property in mind since July as well as this alternative which was not in the public meeting. You see, this comes from a different engineer, not the one who conducted the feasibility study.
Grants lost out on
Many of you may know that in the mid 80's their was a tremendous amount of grant money to fix sewer problems municipalities. Scottville, knowing full well of their problems did not take advantage of any of these grants. Now they want to play the blues for their own ignorance of these problem that was plagued them for decades. The Mayor of Scottville states that the City had some 1200 residents 30 years ago, and today they have 1200 residents. Public records show the city tried at different times to add services to their system, only to be denied because they did not have a meter on the inlet box to measure influent since the 70's. This was only remedied when the pressure was being applied by owners of Henry's Landing Campground, James and Freda Henry when they gave notice of a citizens suit allowed under the EPA. Why hasn't the City grown, and why does the city moan? Did they feel they should be able to treat upwards of 500,000-1,000,000 gpd in their 195,000 state of the art system? Do they feel it should be ok to treat that influent through their sandy bottom of their last treatment pond? They don't have to do any thing about it until the year 2003. Unless we know the history we are bound to repeat it.
Obviously there is so much more to this, there are bigger violators of pollution in this State. The City of Scottville may have already missed a deadline of their ACO with the DEQ. Their infrastructure study is not yet complete. However, they can tell how much money it will take to fix this 60-80 year old infrastructure without such a study.
I hope to compel your to express your displeasure with the DEQ and the City of Scottville for attempting to fill wetlands and flood plains when there are alternatives.
The City of Scottville can be reached by calling Amy Hansen, City Manager
As for the DEQ, Mike Stifler in Cadillac or Garth Aslakson at 616-775-92-727
Tom Rohrer is one of the signees of the ACO. He just recently posted his email which is: firstname.lastname@example.org
In closing the City of Scottville will be applying for a grant from the USDA. The Rural Development Fund does not allow for sewage systems to be built in wetlands or flood plains when there is an alternative. People, there is an alternative. Let's stop the environmental tromping that is taking place!
As the prophet Isaiah said, Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: I say enough deceit, clean it up! The future of Scottville does not look bright, this is the truth, no more smooth things. The people need to face the facts, and need to quit saying tells us what we want to hear, not what we have to do!