LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Wastewater plant presents health risks, high cost to taxpayers

To the editor:

Do you want your family and friends to swim and fish in sewage effluent?

What is going to happen to Lake Anna’s generated tax revenue, businesses and property values, if no one comes to the lake because of water pollution? 

On May 19, 2020, The Central Virginian published an article in regards to a Louisa County supervisor’s proposal to purchase the LKA Environmental Services Sewerage Treatment Plant on New Bridge Road (Route 208) and to expand its discharge capacity from 20,000 to 99,000 gallons per day of sewage effluent into the lake. This discharge occurs in the vicinity of Windwood Coves and the Route 208 bridge. 

This plant has had a state Department of Environmental Quality permit for the last 15 years. Dominion Energy has had a permit for the last 40 years to discharge 50,000 gallons of sewage effluent per day from North Anna Power Station into the lake. The combined total amount of sewage effluent discharged into the lake over the two plants’ lifespan is about 740 million gallons.

Considering the county’s proposed increased capacity of 99,000 gallons per day, it will not take long for sewage effluent entering in the lake to reach the one billion gallon threshold. The lake is not a free-flowing river; therefore, there is little water circulation. The pollutants will accumulate into the lake’s sediments indefinitely.

In the CV article, Louisa County’s economic development director stated that treated wastewater is safe and can be reused. He noted that effluent from the Zion Crossroads wastewater plant irrigates the Spring Creek golf course. Does this statement represent the county’s standard for water health and safety for the lake’s recreational users?

Sewage effluent contains elevated total dissolved solids, nitrogen, chloride, organic carbon, and microbes, and can contain organic compounds including surfactants, solvents, and pharmaceuticals that pass through human urine and are not removed during sewage processing. Concentrations of these contaminants can present significant health and ecological risks.

The harmful algae blooms that have shut down portions of the lake are caused by an overabundance of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Nutrient concentrations are typical in sewage effluent. 

The CV article noted that the LKA Environmental Services plant has been cited for significant violations and ongoing issues. However, the nature of these violations and issues was not disclosed.  

The CV previously mentioned that the plant’s acquisition will require a $5 million taxpayer investment, which will be the beginning of a never-ending stream of taxpayer dollars needed for continuous infrastructure upgrades, maintenance, and expansions to keep pace with population growth.

It appears that the basis of this investment is that Louisa County taxpayers absorb the economic, health and ecological risks while the developers gain the profits.

Contact your supervisor and request that he vote  against purchasing LKA Environmental Services Sewerage Treatment Plant.

Carmine Largo

Mineral

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