11:18am

Tue August 30, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

EPA to Discuss Floyds Fork Pollution Managment

The Environmental Protection Agency is holds a meeting today to let the public weigh in on a proposal to manage pollution in Floyds Fork, a tributary of the Salt River that runs through Jefferson and four other counties. The EPA is getting involved in what’s usually a state process because of the watershed’s size and complexity.

The tributary of the Salt River is listed as impaired because of high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as low levels of dissolved oxygen. The EPA is helping the state Division of Water calculate the maximum amount of pollution that can go into Floyds Fork and still meet state water quality standards.

There are many pollution sources in the watershed, but one of the largest is already scheduled to close. The Metropolitan Sewer District agreed to shut down its Jeffersontown wastewater treatment plant by 2015 as part of its court-imposed agreement with the EPA.

Teena Halbig is the co-president of the Floyds Fork Environmental Association. She says closing the Jeffersontown plant is a good step, but she worries it’ll only change the watershed’s situation on paper.

“Some of it could be called ‘pollution shifting,’ where you take it from one source and you pass it on downstream to another,” she said. “So our concerns will still be ‘is it being cleaned up good enough?’”

Chris Thomas of the EPA’s Region 4 branch of water protection will be at the meeting.

“Once you get that budget number then that number will be allocated among the various point and non-point source dischargers in the watershed,” he said.

He says that could mean some of the facilities that release pollution into the tributary will have to reduce what they’re currently discharging.

The meeting is tomorrow from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Eastern High School Auditorium in Middletown at 12400 Old Shelbyville Road.