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This paper is a case study that presents the benefits of using public involvement processes in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting of the Sugar Creek Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (AWWTP) outfall relocation for the City of Alexander City, Alabama.

The Sugar Creek AWWTP is an 8.5-million-gallon-per-day (mgd) publicly owned treatment works (POTW) that has discharged into Sugar Creek, a small wet weather stream with a 7Q10 flow of zero, since it was constructed in the 1960s. The POTW, which primarily treats industrial wastewater, has been upgraded from a primary treatment facility to an advanced treatment facility to satisfy increasingly stringent permitting requirements. Stricter permit requirements, the need to prepare for future economic growth, and the need to protect the environment forced the City to consider other treatment and discharge alternatives. Engineering evaluations revealed that relocating the discharge to Lake Martin, one of the state's most pristine lakes, was the City's most effective alternative.

The City was aware that local public acceptance and regulatory permitting would be difficult and chose to implement a comprehensive public involvement program prior to the submittal of the permit application. The paper presents the public involvement steps implemented and how diverging and extreme stakeholder views were managed throughout the process. Public involvement efforts resulted in widespread support for the City's effort to relocate the outfall.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2000-01-01

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