Following a hubbub over the location of a proposed wastewater treatment facility, the Rocky Mount Sewer District board submitted plans for a new facility closer to the lake shore.
The board submitted a proposal for a facility located on Lake Road Y-13 (Red Arrow Road) to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources about three weeks ago. The proposed facility is about 2 miles south of the original proposed facility, about one mile from Lick Branch Cove at the 3.5 mile marker of the Lake of the Ozarks.
Board members purchased land behind the Dollar General on Route Y in Rocky Mount with the intention of building an extended-aeration wastewater treatment facility as part of Phase I of a six-phase sewer district project at the headwaters of Blue Spring Creek.
However, landowners along the creek in Miller County objected to having the effluent from the facility drain into the creek, claiming the effluent would damage the creek ecosystem. The landowners organized, sent a petition to DNR and reached out to environmental agencies.
At a hearing Jan. 30, the board announced plans to divert the effluent away from the creek. Eventually, the board scrapped plans for the Route Y facility in favor of a lake front location.
At the hearing, board treasurer Judy Kenworthy cited a desire to avoid conflict with creek landowners as the primary reason for examining other facility options.
The proposed treatment facility at Lick Branch Cove is the same type of treatment facility proposed at Blue Spring Creek, even though less stringent water regulations are required at the lake compared to the creek.
The facility "will meet the most stringent of regulations, as it would have in the other location," board member Peggy Cochran said.
Cochran said the liquid effluent released into the lake will be cleaner than lake water itself.
At an open hearing March 21, Cochran said that landowners near the proposed Lick Branch Cove location presented concerns about having a wastewater treatment facility on the lake shore, but also stressed that many supporters of the sewer district also presented their side.
"The Rocky Mount Sewer Board is moving ahead with purchasing the land and getting all of the appropriate clearances," she said.
Construction on the facility cannot begin until a comment period closes and DNR approves permit. Cochran said she does not know the expected date of approval.
The district must begin construction by June 30, or risk the loss of funding. The project is funded by $3 million in grants and a $1 million loan. When the board delayed plans in January, Kenworthy said the board might seek a 90-day extension on the construction date. Cochran said that the district will still try to abide by the June 30 deadline imposed by DNR.
Page 2 of 2 - Schultz Surveying and Engineering is the district's engineering company.
According to DNR, the operating permit will be available on it's website for a 30-day commenting period.