Ridge effluent permit hearing held

January 11, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

The state Department of the Environment held a meeting and public hearing in Westminster yesterday on a request by Ridge Engineering of Hampstead for a wastewater discharge permit.

The permit would allow the company to send treated industrial wastewater to the Hampstead Waste Water Treatment Plant.

The meeting and hearing were attended by a handful of people.

The requested permit is for about 1,000 gallons of water a day from a metal-finishing process at the plant, said Michael L. Burden, Ridge Engineering controller. The company manufactures parts, mostly for defense contractors, he said.

The company treats its wastewater to reduce the content of metals and other contaminants before it is sent via a sanitary sewer drain to the Hampstead Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Ridge Engineering has been discharging the effluent "for a number of years," said John McGillen, head of the Industrial Compliance Section of the Pretreatment and Enforcement Division of the state Department of the Environment.

"It's not a new discharge; it's not a new operation," Mr. McGillen said.

He said a permit is needed now because a 1990 change in Environmental Protection Agency regulations requires a permit to be issued for such a discharge.

The change also means the effluent will be tested quarterly instead of semiannually to see if it meets EPA pretreatment standards.

Pretreatment standards are limits the EPA sets on pollutants in certain industrial wastes sent to wastewater treatment plants. In this case, limits have been set for chromium, copper, nickel, zinc, lead, silver, cadmium, cyanide and toxic organic compounds. Mr. McGillen said that these contaminants have not been detected in water flowing into the Hampstead Waste Water Treatment Plant. There is little industry in the Hampstead area, he said, and industrial contaminants are so diluted before they reach the plant that they cannot be detected.

Nor have the contaminants been detected in effluent from the Hampstead Waste Water Treatment Plant, he said. The contaminants can build up in sludge at the plant, but that sludge is disposed of at a landfill, he said. The public hearing comment period will remain open until Jan. 27. Comments may be sent to Mark Daniel Jacobs, administrative officer, Maryland Department of the Environment, 2500 Broening Highway, Baltimore 21224.

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