Three groups are appealing for approval from the Ohio Department of Environmental Protection to allow Plain City to discharge more wastewater from its treatment plant into Big Darby Creek.
The Ohio Environmental Council, Center for Biodiversity, and the Derby Creek Association said that such an increase would harm the creek and the environmentally sensitive wildlife that inhabits it, such as fish and mussels, and the Environmental Review and Appeals Board. said it is appealing to
“This isn’t an attraction. This isn’t just a creek. It’s one of the most important creeks in the Midwest in our backyard,” said Nathan Johnson, director of public lands for the Ohio Environmental Council.
The permit, approved by the Ohio EPA in October, will allow Plain City’s wastewater treatment plant to double its capacity from 750,000 to 1.5 million gallons per day. The Ohio EPA said the permit includes conditions to ensure that Big Darby’s water quality is maintained and aquatic habitat and mussels are protected.
At the time, Anthony Chenault, a spokesman for the Ohio EPA, said that while Plain City would be able to increase the amount of wastewater under the new permit, the amount of pollutants allowed would remain at the levels permitted under the old permit. He said he would stay.
In a statement on Friday, Chenault said the Ohio EPA was aware of the appeal to the Environmental Review and Appeals Board. “All Ohio EPA permits are written to protect human health and the environment,” he said.
But environmentalists say the permit doesn’t protect the creek enough. For example, Johnson said there are no water sampling or testing requirements to protect mussels.
“Authorities need to include better surveillance and protection of species,” Johnson said.
“They are in short supply there.”
Derby Creek Association president John Tetzloff said the Ohio EPA does not consider stormwater runoff associated with further development and impacts on mussels, which are endangered by the federal government.
“We are at a pivot point here,” said Tetzloff.
In a statement released by the Ohio Environmental Council, Will Harlan, a biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity, said: Mussels are a natural wastewater treatment plant, filtering pollutants and cleaning rivers for free. They once lined the banks of Big Darby Creek for miles. Today, only a few small populations remain. Fish are also threatened. The catfish, found only in the Big Darby Creek watershed, was recently declared extinct. Big Darby fish and mussels need less pollution and better protection. ”
The expanded wastewater treatment facility will be able to accommodate developers wishing to build in the growing Plain City area not benefiting from the guidelines of the Big Derby Accords signed by the community in 2006. This limits development in Franklin County. part of the basin.
Environmentalists would like to see something similar to the Accord in other parts of the watershed.
“This will degrade existing water quality,” Johnson said of the permit. “This is something we take very seriously.