UPDATE 3: Mountain Christian Church has dropped plans for its wastewater treatment facilityMountain Christian Church has dropped plans for its wastewater treatment facility.
UPDATE 2: Councilman Marks stands ready to drop his opposition to the proposal – click here for details.
UPDATE: A second public meeting has been added for those who are unable to attend the first meeting.
Original story below…
JOPPA, MD – In the wake of recent criticism, Mountain Christian Church on Monday issued a statement clarifying its proposal to discharge treated wastewater into a tributary that feeds into Little Gunpowder Falls.
The issue came to light over the weekend when Gunpowder Riverkeeper expressed concerns over potential for an “increase in bacteria levels and a decrease in downstream water quality related to this new surface water discharge.”
A meeting with be held next month to discuss Mountain Christian Church permit #18DP3850, which would allow for the discharge of up to 5,000 gallons of treated wastewater per day into a tributary that flows and enters into the Little Gunpowder Falls at the Jericho Road covered bridge.
The public meeting will be held by the Maryland Department of the Environment on Tuesday July 2, 2019, from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. at the Harford County Public Library – Joppa Branch, located at 655 Towne Center Drive, Joppa, MD 21085, to discuss the matter.
On Monday morning, Councilman David Marks issued a letter stating that he does not support the plan.
On Monday evening, Mountain Christian Church issued a statement clarifying their proposal.
The full statement can be read below:
“Recently there has been some confusion and concern swirling on social media about the proposed septic treatment system for the Mountain Road campus. Unfortunately, it has stemmed from some posts that contained misinformation and false statements which has only created more confusion. Some have stated or assumed we want to discharge sewage into the Gunpowder River or mistreat the environment in some way.
We think it is important to bring facts to light that will diffuse confusion and assuage concern.
Mountain is seeking to improve our septic treatment system and has been working with the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Harford County Health Department to install the absolute best system available moving forward. We are pursuing approval for what they have recommended which is a state of the art Wastewater Treatment process using a high tech system which will in fact significantly upgrade the current wastewater disposal process in order to protect the environment.
We are pleased that the government regulations for septic systems like this are extremely stringent. They are designed to protect the environment. The system proposed for us exceeds all governmental requirements for impact. This is assuredly why the Harford County Council voted unanimously to include Mountain into the Harford County Master Water and Sewer Plan to provide a mechanism for this type of treatment plant to be installed. Mountain has complied with every request of these governing bodies. The Maryland Department of the Environment has scientists and engineers closely monitoring the best systems that will best protect the environment, and they are the agency responsible for reviewing and permitting the appropriateness of any water treatment solution. We trust MDE’s permitting process and its thoroughness and we respect their commitment to safeguard the environment. Rumors and misinformation about sewage being dumped and the like are just inaccurate and unhelpful. We’re following the State’s permitting process explicitly.
Bottom line, our permit application does not signal some new thing that will pose a threat to the environment as some have misunderstood; to the contrary, it is evidence of our commitment to and compliance with the highest possible standards of environmental care and concern. We are eager to pursue this system because it is an improvement on anything we’ve ever had. Its improved technology and safer methods along with cleaner effluent (the water discharged is clean and surpasses all requirements and regulations for purity) give us the assurance that we are honoring the planet, being good neighbors, and showing appropriate concern for the stewardship of the environment. We look forward to the next directives from the State.
There has been an extended period of public input. An additional opportunity has been scheduled for July 2 at 1:30 PM at the Joppatowne Library. This is open to the public and anyone wanting accurate information is highly encouraged to attend. Learning the facts about what the new system is and why the State is recommending it is important. In the meantime, we hope this helps correct some false assumptions and sheds light on the process at hand.
Mountain has shown itself to be a good neighbor in so many ways, extending care and concern for the people of Harford, Baltimore and Cecil Counties and beyond. By pursuing this improved system we are maintaining that commitment – not just to the people, but to the environment God has given us to share.”