A correspondent contributes additional information on a policy advisory council meeting last night held to discuss watershed management plans for Lake Maumelle. The Democrat-Gazette reported that, as expected, the group couldn't reach a consensus on the critical question of whether the watershed management plan should prohibit development on a small amount of acreage close to the water intake.
This process has been marked all along by Deltic Timber's efforts to string out action on watershed management to defeat Central Arkansas Water's effort to condemn the property and protect the water supply from residential development. (That issue could be clarified by a hearing today in Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce's court. Deltic is trying to have a full-blown trial on whether or not its 700 acres should be condemned, though it has already taken the money the utility offered for the property. Normally, if you want to contest the legality of a condemnation -- and not just the price -- you don't take the money. Of course it's nice to have $3.8 million to produce interest to finance your lawsuit.)
From our correspondent:
The DemGaz article in this morning's paper was incomplete. There are 22 people sitting at the table of the PAC representing all the interest competing over Lake Maumelle and its watershed. We were asked to vote on a resolution last night that says that the WMP will not allow treated sewage to be dumped into Lake Maumelle .
Last night only one member of the 22 members at the table would not agree to a resolution to not allow dumping of treated sewage into Lake Maumelle and that was Deltic. [Ed. note: The correspondent means only one party, Deltic, refused to endorse a ban on putting treated sewage in the lake.]
Shame on Deltic. What does that tell us about their stewardship of the lake? The last question we are asked before a vote is "We know that you may not like this but can you live with it?" I guess Deltic cannot live with any restrictions on dumping treated swage in Lake Maumelle, the lake that provides drinking water to 400,000 people.
There were two reasons the PAC members were asked to vote for that resolution last night. The first reason is that the computer model of Lake Maumelle tells us how much "loading" the lake can take before the water quality drops below acceptable levels. If treated sewage is allow to be dumped into Lake Maumelle all the loading the lake can tolerate will rapidly be met and leave no room for loading from other sources.
The effect of such loading is so significant that very little new development could be allowed on the lake because the lake could not tolerate additional pollution from those sources. For this reason all the charts graphs and statistics that have been used by the PAC members for discussion and negotiations over the past several months have been based on the fact that no treated sewage would not be allowed to be dumped in the lake.
Second reason is that take a lot of time and effort to pass a new state law to stop such dumping of treated swage. Experts in state political tell us that is not going to be easy to do. To pass this law is going to take time and the resolution would enable the work to begin the process. The next general assembly begins in January.