Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lookout! Farm, Fire, Filth

Lots of news from Lookout Drive recently. First was the announcement that Owens Spring Creek Farm was closing. Then was the ribbon cutting for Richardson's new fire training center. This week, down in Austin, the rebuilding of the Lookout Drive Transfer Station (LOTS) gets one more step closer to reality.

That trash transfer station has been a regular topic here on The Wheel. Most recently was last November, after a public hearing on the project, when the neighborhood learned that the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) had made all the concessions they were going to make to address the concerns of the neighborhood. Next week in Austin the neighborhood makes its last (?) ditch effort to stop the project as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) holds a review of a request for reconsideration of the TCEQ's decision that the NTMWD project application meets the requirements of applicable law.

After the jump, the TCEQ's response to the neighborhood complaints.

One by one, the TCEQ rejected the objections raised by the neighborhood. Excerpts of TCEQ's responses to comments:
  1. The TCEQ is not authorized to consider or enforce an agreement between the NTMWD and commenters. (So much for the so-called Memorandum of Understanding.)

  2. NTMWD will be authorized to accept a maximum of 1,500 tons of waste per day.

  3. NTMWD's application includes adequate provisions to control noise.

  4. NTMWD's application proposes to construct and operate the facility in compliance with the rules to be protective of human health and the environment.

  5. NTMWD's application is compatible with land use in the area.

  6. NTMWD's application contains sufficient provisions to control odors.

  7. TCEQ does not have authority to enforce traffic laws or to require permittees to maintain roads.

  8. A public hearing was held October 9, 2012, in Plano.

  9. NTMWD's application contains sufficient provisions to control rats and flies.

  10. NTMWD's application contains sufficient provisions to control windblown litter and to cleanup along access roads.

  11. NTMWD's application contains sufficient provisions for adequate landscaping and visual screening.

  12. TCEQ does not have authority to direct NTMWD to study or use alternative sites.

  13. TCEQ does not have authority to consider effects on property values.

  14. The transfer station is not authorized to receive regulated hazardous waste.

  15. NTMWD's application contains adequate provisions to contain and dispose of any contaminated water from the facility.

  16. Authorizations for emissions under the Air Permits Division is considered separately from this waste management application.

  17. TCEQ rules do not require NTMWD to analyze air pollution resulting from the use of trucks.

  18. NTMWD has submitted all required environmental studies.

  19. The facility is not located on a 100-year floodplain.

  20. The City of Richardson has issued an approval for the application. TCEQ is not authorized to supersede zoning decisions made by municipalities.

  21. A transfer station operator is not responsible for illegal dumping by others.

  22. The facility is not located over a landfill.

  23. TCEQ's rules do not make the condition of the waste haulers collection trucks a condition to be considered in reviewing NTMWD's application.

  24. TCEQ is not authorized to consider whether an adjacent property is contaminated with lead.

  25. TCEQ is not authorized to consider whether strangers will loiter around a transfer station.

  26. Notice of NTMWD's application has received adequate public notice.

  27. TCEQ conducted soil and water samples and found excessive levels of perfluorinated compounds in water seeping into the creek consistent with foams used in fire training centers. TCEQ mailed a Notice of Violation to the City of Richardson. Constructing and operating a transfer station is not expected to interfere with remediation.

  28. Whether the adjacent creek is contaminated by either the former landfill or the fire training center is not relevant to NTMWD's application.

  29. Whether Spring Creek is classified as "Water of the US" or "water in the state" is irrelevant to NTMWD's application.

  30. TCEQ's rules do not require NTMWD to conduct a Noise and Air Emissions Study.
Importantly, the document ends with this: "No changes were made to the Draft Permit in response to comments." In other words, what else ya got?

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