Tuesday, February 27, 2024

M3 seeks Camp Bay wastewater facility

Staff Writer | July 20, 2022 1:00 AM

SAGLE — An application for a conditional use permit for a wastewater treatment facility at Camp Bay has been filed by M3 ID Camp Bay LLC.

The public hearing for CUP0010-22 will be held 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the county administrative building.

While Fred and Jennifer Arn and M3 are currently negotiating a resolution outside of court, until the hearing scheduled Aug. 10, M3, which is registered in Scottsdale, Ariz., is seeking to move forward on its development project.

In an email to Bonner County’s Road and Bridge Department, the planning department, and the county commissioners, Fred Arn “urge[d] the county to deny or postpone this project until all legal issues pertaining to Camp Bay are resolved.”

Arn has been a leading opponent of M3’s plans for development at Camp Bay, operating 50feet.net, where he chronicles his anti-development effort.

Arn also wrote that “[w]e are not sure why [the] Road and Bridge Department has no comments since the M3 plans have sewer lines running through the public road.”

“This begs for a cease-and-desist order until these issues are resolved. The potential for future lawsuits against the county is massive and is laid at the feet of county officials. We live here and are part of this community. We do not want our hard-earned tax dollars spent in litigation,” Arn wrote.

The map of the proposed project shows a planned private road with sewer lines crossing the currently public Camp Bay Road.

According to staff engineer Matt Mulder in a reply to the county’s request for comment, the Road and Bridge Department had no comment since “the proposed wastewater treatment policy is on a private road.”

In addition to Bonner County Road and Bridge, Idaho Fish and Game, Idaho Water Resources, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, and the Panhandle Health District were also asked for comment on M3’s proposal.

Dan McCracken, IDEQ regional administrator, did not object to the proposal, but instead urged that proper precautions be taken should the project be approved. He listed concerns relating to air quality, wastewater, drinking water, surface water, and solid/hazardous waste and cited numerous concerns and policies from the Idaho DEQ, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.

On air quality, McCracken wrote that precautions must be taken to prevent “fugitive dust” from arising during the construction process and that area vegetation should be mechanically processed rather than burned, however “[m]echanical processing is not required by DEQ.”

McCracken also wrote that authorities “should consider requiring a project plan that commits to the proper disposal of demolition and construction debris,” because “[o]pen burning of demolition or construction debris is not an allowable form of open burning” in Idaho.

He also wrote that Idaho Code “requires an owner or operator of a facility to obtain an air quality permit to construct prior to the commencement of construction or modification of any facility that will be a source of air pollution in quantities above established levels.”

With regards to wastewater, “DEQ recommends that projects be served by existing approved wastewater collection systems or a centralized community wastewater system whenever possible.”

“If connecting to an existing wastewater utility, DEQ recommends verifying that there is adequate capacity to serve this project prior to approval,” McCracken said. “[A]ll projects for construction or modification of wastewater systems require pre- construction approval. Recycled water projects and subsurface disposal projects require separate permits as well.”

Similarly, with regards to drinking water, “DEQ recommends using an existing drinking water system whenever possible.” However, “[i]f connecting to an existing public or non-public drinking water system, DEQ recommends verifying that there is adequate capacity to serve this project prior to approval.”

On surface water, McCracken wrote “Site activities adjacent to waters of the United States (US) must comply with Idaho’s Water Quality Standards” which “provides limits to pollutants to assure water quality for the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and recreation in and on the water.”

“Point source discharges” may require the “Idaho Pollution Discharge Elimination System” or the EPA’s “National Pollution Discharge Elimination Program,” McCracken stated.

For construction, best management practices (BMPs) should be implemented “to control, prevent, or minimize pollution.”

“Construction activities disturbing areas greater than one acre of land that may discharge stormwater directly or indirectly into waters of the U.S. require development and implementation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan under a Construction General Permit” from the EPA.

According to M3’s CUP application, the parcel is over 40 acres large and sits 1 mile to the east of Lake Pend Oreille and 1/2 mile to the north of Livermore Lake.

The DEQ reply continued “[s]ite activities that disturb ground below the ordinary high water mark [OHWM] within streams/lakeshores must have a permit” from the Idaho Department of Water Resources and the Idaho Department of Lands. While, “[a]ctivities that discharge fill material below the OHWM must have a permit” from the US Army Corp of Engineer, according to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, McCracken wrote.

Regarding hazardous waste, McCracken stated that “disposal of all solid waste must comply with Idaho’s Solid Waste Management Rules” and that “[n]o trash or other solid waste shall be buried, burned, or otherwise disposed of at the project site.”

“Site activities must comply with the Idaho Water Quality Standards regarding hazardous and deleterious-materials storage, disposal, or accumulation adjacent to or in the immediate vicinity of state waters,” including “the cleanup and reporting of oil-filled electrical equipment, hazardous materials, and used-oil and petroleum releases,” DEQ’s response stated.

“Petroleum releases must be reported to DEQ,” as well as “[h]azardous material releases to state waters, or to land such that there is likelihood that it will enter state waters,” in accordance with Idaho Code.

Additionally, “DEQ requests that all activities comply with Idaho’s Ground Water Quality Rules” which state that “[n]o person shall cause or allow the release, spilling, leaking, emission, discharge, escape, leaching, or disposal of a contaminant into the environment” in a manner that may diminish ground water quality.

On “underground storage tanks,” the “DEQ requires that tanks and piping along with any required testing and owner/operator training comply with Idaho’s Rules Regulating Underground Storage Tank Systems.” The response noted that the Panhandle Health District regulates any above ground storage tanks in the area.

The DEQ response to the county’s request for comment cited the Idaho Administrative Procedures Act chapters 20, 37, and 58.

Another concern was brought by the Panhandle Health District, which questioned the validity of the permit application's description of the property.

Timothy French, an environmental health specialist at the PHD’s Sandpoint office, wrote that while “in the Site Information section of the CUP0010-22 Permit Application regarding Water Bodies, the applicant stated - ‘There are no lakes, streams, rivers or other bodies of water on the site.’”

“However,” French continued, “PHD did observe numerous water bodies (creaks, streams, drainages, swales, etc.) on the site. The proposed wastewater system infrastructure will be going near, over, or under many water bodies.”

“All components of the proposed system must meet current standards; including setbacks to surface water,” French stated.

Should the Panhandle Health District conclude that the proposed CUP is in compliance with Idaho Code, it will refer the matter to the IDEQ for further review, the reply states.

Jennifer Ekstrom of the Idaho Conservation League stated that “[i]t would be inappropriate for the Zoning Commission to approve the CUP until Panhandle Health and the DEQ have approved that the proposal meets current standards.”

The Idaho Department of Water Resources “determined it was non jurisdictional,” according to Adam Frederick of their Northern Regional Office.

Idaho Fish and Game did “not have any comments to submit for this application,” according to Merritt Horsmon, their environmental staff biologist in the Panhandle.

All agency comments and documents associated with CUP0010-22 can be found on the Bonner County website under “File CUP0010-22.”

Information: the public hearing for M3’s conditional use permit application for a wastewater treatment facility at Camp Bay will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 21 at the Bonner County Administrative Building, 1500 U.S. 2, Sandpoint.

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