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Proposal would pump treated wastewater into tributary that flows into Little Gunpowder Falls

UPDATE 5: Mountain Christian Church has canceled plans for its wastewater treatment facilityMountain Christian Church has canceled plans for its wastewater treatment facility.

UPDATE 4: Councilman Marks stands ready to drop his opposition to the proposal – click here for details.

UPDATE 3: A second public meeting has been added and the public comment period has been extended.

UPDATE 2: Mountain Christian Church has issued a statement clarifying its wastewater proposal – click here for details.

UPDATE: Councilman David Marks has written a letter opposing this plan – view the letter here.

Original story below…


JOPPA, MD – Local residents are upset with a proposal to pump potable effluent into a tributary that feeds into the Little Gunpowder Falls.

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.

According to Gunpowder Riverkeeper, “Riverkeeper is concerned about the potential for an increase in bacteria levels and a decrease in downstream water quality for trout waters (Use III) and Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) related to this new surface water discharge. In the past the church has used a septic field but this permit would allow a minor wastewater treatment plant to be built and managed on the site.”

The 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.

At the previous hearing on this permit, Gunpowder Riverkeeper asked that the state:

– Recognize impairments for bay-wide pollutants like nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment in the downstream waterways

– Provide the compliance record of the church septic field system

– Put stricter limits on temperature and bacteria and provide more representative monitoring in the draft permit

Due to feedback from downstream and adjacent residents that attended the first hearing, MDE agreed to host another informational meeting that would be open to the public.

Those who cannot attend the meeting will be able to submit written comments until July 15, 2019 to:

Yen-Der Cheng, Chief, Wastewater Permits, WSA, Ref: #18DP3850,
1800 Washington Blvd., Suite 455
Baltimore, MD 21230-1708

“Not once have I received a phone call or an email about this proposal,” said Councilman David Marks. “What happens in Harford County affects northeastern Baltimore County – the growth in Bel Air and Fallston, and now proposals like this one.”

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