June 9, 2010 Meeting Minutes

22 Jun
June 22, 2010

As recorded by John Bunch, Secretary. Curtis Newsome was not able to make it to the meeting tonight due to a medical issue, so Jeff Turner ran the meeting. Jeff requested that John Bunch read the minutes from the previous monthly meeting. The minutes were read, motion made by Nancy Turner to adopt, seconded by Sean Maconaghy, and passed with no changes. Jeff asked Nancy for the treasurer’s report for May. She reported that revenues were $183.19 (dues for memberships and atlas sales income), expenses were $2420.57 (main expenses being for the projector as discussed in last month’s meeting, truck insurance, and Litter Gitters). Bobby Turner then gave the membership report. The group now stands at 130, an addition of 6 members from the previous month. The meeting had 6 in attendance and the BOD members present were Nancy Turner and Jeff Turner. The Riverkeeper Report As presented by Jeff Turner On 5/21 – USACE flood meeting was held in Franklin. They were asking for input on local flood prone hot spots and charting them on a map. Among the few attending the meeting there was one person representing Franklin and IOW county. On 5/27 – Robert F. Kennedy Jr., founder of the Waterkeeper Alliance (our parent organization) was the keynote speaker at HRSD’s Nansemond Sewage Treatment Plant in Suffolk. The event was celebrating the 38 million dollar upgrade to the facility making it possible for that plant to perform nutrient extraction from the waste water and then to be made into a slow-release fertilizer. The water released from this plant flows into the James River and will have the Phosphorus and Ammonia removed. BNRP was not notified in advance of this event. On 6/3 – Congressman Randy Forbes offered to come speak at one of our monthly meetings. Need input from Anne on how to go forward with that. – Entered BNRP into the running for the Scenic Virginia Award in the Anti-Litter Category. There are 5 or 6 categories this year. I have been contacted for more pictures so the group may have more chance for the award this year. On 6/4 – Cancelled the Eco Cruises for the 1st part of July due to still recovering from shoulder surgery. On 6/7 – Neblett’s Mill TMDL – Received a response from DEQ on the Public Comment I sent in on 5/11. What I wrote with the corresponding DEQ response follows: “After looking at the Map Tech estimates, I would have to say there is a problem with human contribution estimates. Slide 15 is showing the population in Neblett’s Run as 16 with only one failed septic system. Slide 22 shows that the human contribution is 42%. One failed septic system is responsible for 42% of the bacteria? You are going to have to explain that to me. The only reason I can think of that those figures would be like that is if there are biosolids being applied in the area that you do not know about and the biosolids are not being applied correctly. Possibly the DNA sampling is not being done properly. I hope DEQ has oversight on that contract work………..There are over 11,000 hogs in the Neblett Mill Run system. I am sure the majority of the bacterial problem is coming from that CAFO operation. If your data goes back far enough you could rule out the biosolids if bacteria levels were high before that stuff was being spread around. When were the Murphy Brown farms built? Do you have data before that operation was built? Murphy Brown farms do not have a great environmental record and I get complaints from people all the time about their operations. They are constantly found to be over-spraying according to their permit limits. Finding the main source of the bacteria problem is not rocket science, looking to the two largest contributors makes sense, wildlife and hog farms. The wildlife is out of DEQ control, but the hog farms are not. Tighten up on unannounced visits and maybe once in awhile send someone during a rainy period and see what is going on, not during a dry summer.” DEQ responded – “There are approximately 7 homes that may have failing septic systems along Rt. 35 and Newville Road. These could contribute human septage to the watershed and will be examined in the implementation planning phase of the TMDL. Depending on stream volume, flow, and the proximity of the failing septic to the stream – one failed system may have the potential to impact bacteria levels on the stream………..DEQ is the permitting entity for biosolids applications and is not aware of any biosolid applications in the Nebletts Mill Run Watershed………..Bacterial Source Tracking is only a tool which may be used for determining bacteria sources and is not precise. Error in BST source-typing in the range of 15-20% is not uncommon. DEQ and the contractor go to great lengths to obtain correct population data on livestock, pets, humans (population and to get a feel for septic failures/straight pipe numbers), and wildlife from local agencies and the public. This information is used to valuate the applicability of BST…………There is a possibility that human waste from the CAFO may escape the facility. How human waste in bathrooms on the facility is disposed of can be checked (septic and if it has been pumped out or inspected). Regarding inspections of CAFOs, DEQ considers unannounced to be without prior notice or with little notice (less than 24 hours). This should in no way be considered as “no notice” and inspectors do not go about unaccompanied while onsite. Due to bio-security concerns (disease outbreaks) and requirements which must be adhered, DEQ does not engage in onsite visits without contacting the owner prior to entering the property not going onsite unaccompanied (this may mean showing up at the gate and obtaining permission and an escort). DEQ does not believe this inhibits the inspection process. Inspections are conducted independent of weather conditions.” This concluded the Riverkeeper Report Other Items: – Projector has been purchased and used. It’s easy to carry, gives a good sound and projection and was a good purchase to have made. – June 13th at 2pm at IOW County Museum in Smithfield, Tracy Neikirk will host a curatorial talk on the Blackwater River, a transportation route to the Chesapeake Bay in the 17th and 18th centuries. – Concerning t-shirts, the order has been sent in for a batch of new ones. – Sean Maconaghy reported for Ashland concerning their remediation project, they are still stabilizing sludge and are about 3 weeks behind schedule due to rains. Hope to be done with the stabilization by the end of June.

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