December 26, 2022
Treating sewage at a plant in the East Hickman area and releasing its effluent into Lick Creek is the least impactful and the most cost-effective of nine alternatives considered by the Water Authority of Dickson County to expand its capacity in the region.
That’s according to supplemental information filed this month by the utility. WADC’s original state permit application was submitted to the state Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) nearly 13 months ago.
The 30-page supplement — prepared by Water Management Service LLC of Nashville, which prepared the initial application — also includes a 25-page economic analysis of the region by Middle Tennessee State University’s Business and Economic Research Center.
The MTSU report says a sewer treatment plant would have a “sizeable” economic impact on the East Hickman and Dickson County areas — both of which lag behind the Middle Tennessee region in job creation — it says.
The MTSU study points to the lack of wastewater services as a missing link to economic development in the portions of the three counties that WADC serves, including Fairview in Williamson County.
“For whom is the benefit, is the question,” said Rodes Hart, a leader of Friends of Lick Creek.
In an e-mail following a query from the Times, Hart and co-leader Amanda Mathis said the additional information does little to ease their concerns about the release of treated effluent into Lick Creek.
“The revised submission does not address the fundamental inequity of taking waste from wealthier communities and dumping it in Hickman County and threatening some of the very things that make Hickman County special,” they wrote.
They said “legal action likely will be required” against WADC, to obtain “information and studies” on which its plan is based, for lack of compliance with the state’s openrecords act.
The December 9 filing comes at the request of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), which asked for clarifications last spring. The state agency will decide at some point whether to draft a permit. A public hearing must be held if that occurs; a decision whether to issue a permit would follow.
First, though, is this: TDEC must determine if it now has the data necessary to allow for a decision. If so, it then becomes required to make a draft permit decision within 12 months.
“We are still reviewing the submittal and cannot yet confirm if we have all of the information necessary to consider the application complete for a permitting decision,” said Kim Schofinski, TDEC’s deputy communications officer, said last week.
WADC’s December 9 submission was made on the same day that attorneys for Friends of Lick Creek filed with the state hundreds of letters and voice mails, and the results of a poll conducted last summer.
That poll collected 555 responses last June 23-26 by random e-mail and phone tests to registered voters here; it was not clear how many were asked for their views.
The result, as conducted by Cooley Public Strategies, showed that 86 percent of respondents were opposed to WADC’s proposal to construct a wastewater treatment plant near Lick Creek — as asked, “to dump 12 million gallons of sewage water into Lick Creek” — with 4 percent in favor and 11 percent unsure.