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Instruction, added 3/22/20: Please enter into comment section important information about use such as: I/we use the trails/parks/playgrounds impacted by these sewage spills. I/we live on or near Mud Creek. I/we fish/canoe/raft/other on the French Broad River. If a second person with the same email address is unable to sign the petition, add an "x" and try again. (For example change Fred@gmail to xFred@gmail.)

Photo info: Berkeley Park, Hendersonville, NC, Jan 19, 2020. Berkeley Park is the northern end of the Oklawaha Greenway Trail.


The undersigned respectfully request that the NC DEQ reject the application for Arcadia Views' connection to the Hendersonville sewer system, and all other Hendersonville sewer fast track applications, because the Hendersonville certificate stating that the facility will not cause any capacity-related sanitary sewer overflows is invalid. In the absence of this action we request that the DEQ hold a public hearing to review this decision.

In the absence of DEQ action to reject this certificate and associated sewer connection application, we petition the Environmental Protection Agency to intervene and reject this sewer connection application.

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The Hendersonville NC wastewater treatment plant has insufficient hydraulic capacity to treat all of Hendersonville’s sewage during moderate rain events, resulting in flooding of the sewer system and sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). These SSOs release illegal discharges of untreated human pathogens to Mud Creek (originally named the Oklawaha), the French Broad River, Hendersonville public streets, city and county parks, walking trails and private property. These human pathogens that can persist for days and weeks are serious public health issues for people and animals that swim, wade, boat, canoe, kayak, fish or are otherwise exposed to these waters. The impacts of these discharges reach all the way to Hot Springs, NC, and beyond.

Hendersonville has recently submitted a two-part request for approval of a permit for the Arcadia Views project. The first part describes the system required to pump sewage to Hendersonville. The second part is a certificate that states “…the flow from this project is not anticipated to cause any capacity related sanitary sewer overflows…”. Since there are already many sanitary sewer overflows it is obvious that this certificate is invalid, and the permit application must be rejected.

Supplemental Information

During August through October 2018, Mountain True conducted fecal coliform sampling during wet and dry weather at various locations in Hendersonville. Their results show very elevated fecal coliform values that violate NC water quality standards during moderate rain events (0.4 inches) in Hendersonville (Brittan Creek, Wash Creek, Johnson Ditch) as well as in Mud Creek. Fecal coliform is an “indicator organism” that represents untreated sewage.

Human pathogens can survive in river water for days, or weeks and easily reach as far as Hot Springs, NC. These illegal discharges threaten the viability of many recreational activities on Mud Creek and the French Broad River as well as area walking trails and parks.

Hendersonville has reported dozens and dozens of these SSOs in recent years. One sewer flooding event in February 2019 lasted for 155 hours, indicating that there was at least 28,000,000 gallons of excess sewage. In addition, because the vast majority of the reported SSOs have “start” times between the hours of 7:30 am and 4:30 pm on Monday through Friday, it is likely that the actual number of SSOs has been under reported, and the reported quantities have been understated. For example, if the August 3, 2018 SSO began at the time the surcharge began, the actual quantity of untreated sewage would be 160,000 gallons rather than the 6,000 gallons reported.

The on-going Hendersonville efforts over many years has failed to reduce SSOs. Hendersonville plans to replace part of their sewer system. This work will take years and any reduction of sewer flooding and SSOs is speculative. A recent presentation to the Hendersonville City Council incorrectly showed that the actual hydraulic capacity of the WWTP is 12 million gallons per day (overstating the actual vale by approximately 100%.) According to the DEQ the actual maximum hydraulic capacity is 6.3 million gallons per day for limited durations of 3 to 5 days.

These illegal discharges are violations of the Clean Water Act and each one is subject to fines of up to $25,000 per day. Yet the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality rarely issues penalties greater than $3,000 to Hendersonville and often imposes no penalty.

After two decades since the original Hendersonville WWTP was replaced, the DEQ has failed to take effective measures to stop these egregious violations.

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