Although some homeowners have raised questions and concerns about the location of a proposed wastewater treatment facility for the Rocky Mount Sewer District, the sewer board is moving forward with current plans to meet a June 30 construction deadline.
The sewer board purchased land along Red Arrow Road 3,800 feet south of Route Y in Rocky Mount on April 10 at a cost of $12,480. The extended-aeration facility proposed at that location would release effluent into a creek that would drain into Lick Branch Cove on the north shore of the Lake of the Ozarks.
The Red Arrow location is the second proposed location for the facility; the original plan for phase one of a six-phase plan called for the facility near Blue Spring Creek behind the Dollar General store in Rocky Mount. The board scrapped that plan after landowners along the creek — none of whom the district would serve — protested the facility location.
Blue Spring Creek landowners voiced concerns over the ecological effects of a wastewater treatment facility at the creek. Residents along Lick Branch Cove voiced similar concerns at the Rocky Mount Sewer District meeting April 24.
While constituents expressed approval of the sewer district as a whole, several speakers indicated the lack of water movement within the cove would, combined with treated wastewater effluent, diminish the cove ecosystem.
Richard White, a representative of the Lick Branch Cove Homeowners Association, addressed several points of concern.
"We believe discharge will have detrimental effects on drinking water in wells," White told the board.
He expressed concerns about the habitat for eagles, impact on property values and decreased recreation in the cove.
White also asked the board to give the homeowners association 30 days to complete a third-party evaluation of the environmental impact of the facility on the cove.
Lick Branch Cove Homeowners Association member Todd Rumbo said the alternate study would be funded by the association, but refused to elaborate on who would perform the evaluation.
Sewer board secretary Peggy Cochran said that while the homeowners can perform their own study, it's unlikely to delay the project.
"We have already done all of the studies by the best engineers and scientists who have been doing this for years," she said. "We do not have the luxury of waiting another 30 day in order to proceed."
An anti-degradation report was completed in March and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources released their finding of no significant impact on April 5.
"The proposed project will have a positive impact on water quality and will not results in any significant adverse impacts on rare or endangered species, flood plains, wetlands, recreational areas, cultural/archaeological sites, or air quality," the report states.
Page 2 of 2 - Rumbo said that the DNR might feel pressure to approve a plan hastily-conceived by the board after the abandonment of the Blue Spring Creek location.
"I think the DNR is in a tough spot," he said. "I just think there's a rush to get it done."
The Rocky Mount Sewer District project is funded by $3 million in grants and a $1 million loan, which will go away if construction does not start by June 30.
Cochran said that while the board has worked on the Red Arrow site since the end of January, the plan for the facility itself has been intact for some time.
Some have suggested the board move the discharge line to Coffman Beach, but Cochran said the board doesn't have the extra $245,000 that would cost.
"We are convinced that we are doing what is best for the Rocky Mount Sewer District, the residents of Lick Branch Cove and all of the people who enjoy the Lake of the Ozarks," Cochran said. "It appears that the plan is intact and we are moving forward with the effluent being discharged into the lake via Lick Branch Cove."
The next meeting of the Rocky Mount Sewer District will take place on May 22 at 7 p.m. at the Rocky Mount Lions Club building on Route Y.