Wednesday, April 28, 1999

Sewer plant? Not in our backyard

Rabbit Hash area residents especially vocal

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ERLANGER — Board members of Sanitation District No.1 got an earful from Boone County residents Tuesday on building a sewage treatment plant, and the consensus was, “Not in our back yard.”

        More than 300 people filled a meeting room at the Airport Holiday Inn off Mineola Pike, at the invitation of Sanitation District officials, to express their opinions on five Boone County sites proposed by the district as locations for the new treatment plant.

        The bulk of the crowdappeared to be from the greater Rabbit Hash area and were there to voice opposition to the site at Ciner gy's East Bend power plant property near Rabbit Hash.

        “Rabbit Hash is not some remote area, but a cohesive neighborhood with a long his tory in Boone County,” said Ann Burleigh, a Rabbit Hash resident.

        “Although Cinergy previously declined to sell the property to the Sanitation District, the issue has come up again and is under consideration,” Mrs. Burleigh said. “The residents of Rabbit Hash are interested in preserving our families there. We do not want a sewage treatment plant.”

        The Sanitation District had been negotiating with Cinergy for a piece of the East Bend property, but after public opposition developed, Cinergy broke off negotiations in February and said it was no longer interested in selling the land.

        One of the five sites proposed for the plant that drew some support was about 350 acres north of Interstate 275 and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The land, off Elijah Creek Road, is owned by the Shore family.

        Among the positive aspects of that property, sever

        al speakers said, was its location on a ridge overlooking the Ohio River, and its industrial zone status.

        Mike Hemmer of Hemmer Construction, which developed a nearby industrial park, said the Shore property was considered one of the prime industrial development sites in Northern Kentucky and that a treatment plant could hamper development.

        But Boone County resident Pat Rafferty said the Shore property would be the ideal site for the very reason that it is zoned industrial. “A sewage treatment plant in the area would not prevent industrial development. It might even help, be cause it would serve the entire area.”

        The Sanitation District has said it must build a new sewage treatment plant in the next five years because the Dry Creek plant in Villa Hills, which treats waste from Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties, will be at capacity by 2003. District officials said it is not financially feasible to enlarge the Dry Creek facility.

        Several people asked why a treatment facility could not be built on airport property. But that idea died some months ago when the Federal Aviation Administration declined to approve for safety reasons.

        Many speakers were concerned with odors from the proposed treatment plant drifting to nearby homes, resulting in a lowering of property values.

        But district officials emphasized that the new plant would be the first in the Tristate to incorporate odor-control technologies in the initial design, with odor-control experts involved in the design.

        The board members will consider the public comments, as well as other technical and geographic data, before choosing the site. There has been no indication when that decision will be made.

        The three sites besides those in Rabbit Hash and near the airport that are being considered for the sewage treatment plant are:

        • The Belleview Sand and Gravel property on Belleview Road.

        • Property at the Petersburg exit of Interstate 275, the same location as a proposed underground limestone mine.

        • A 135-acre tract on East Bend Road (Ky. 338).


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