Planners Back Showell Plant Conversion

SNOW HILL – The conversion of the Perdue wastewater plant
in Showell for residential use got a positive recommendation from the Worcester
County Planning Commission last week, with modifications which could be the
basis for a new model of wastewater management.

ADC Builders plans to use 1,000 EDUs of 4,000 projected
units of sewer, to be created out of converting the industrial Perdue
wastewater plant, for 1,000 homes.

The planning commission decided to require the plant to
use spray irrigation, eventually. Although the wastewater plant will need 18 to
24 months just to go through the permitting process, the ADC project will still
be complete before the county has purchased and set up spray irrigation fields.

“We still think spray irrigation is the way to go,” said
Carolyn Cummins, chair of the planning commission. “We didn’t think the
discharge should go away completely.”

The planning commission agreed to let the project use the
discharge permit initially and begin using spray irrigation in 2011. By 2017,
the effluent must be disposed of entirely through spray irrigation.

The water discharge would be retained beyond that for
emergency use, such as heavy rainfall.

“What we essentially agreed to, there was good reason for
the county to keep the discharge to use in case of emergency,” Cummins said.

The county needs to take the lead on getting the discharge
out of the water, Cummins said. Anyone else who wants to use capacity from that
plant will need to do their part to improve water quality.

Developers, if the planning commission’s recommendation is
implemented, would need to pay into a fee in lieu fund, provide spray
irrigation land, or perhaps run sewer lines to neighboring properties with
septic service.

“I think what we’re developing is a model we can use in
the rest of the county,” Cummins said. “The real key is not what we’ve done but
when we take it to the commissioners, what they do.”

The planning commission will take its positive recommendation
before the Worcester County Commissioners in May.

“I hope we’ll be able to explain why we came to this
conclusion,” she said.

County Commissioner Linda Busick, who represents the
Showell area, said she has many questions about the idea. Busick was vocal
about the development during last fall’s campaign.

“I
am not at all bowled over by this offer for ADC,” she said. “I don’t see the
need to rush ahead with this Perdue plant and this development.” 

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