Thursday, May 25, 2000

Sewage planners criticized

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HEBRON — Hundred-year-old sewer systems aren't keeping up with Northern Kentucky's growth.

        A lot of them need to be fixed and more need to be built, officials say. If not, development in places like Alexandria may continue to stall and other areas will risk sewer overflows.

        Sanitation District No. 1 held a public hearing Wednesday night on a regional facility plan. It out lined issues the district must address over the next 20 years.

        Although there were fewer people at this hearing than at others, the comments were just as acidic. Residents called district employees and board members arrogant and even sinful, saying they're catering to developers and aren't being responsible with regard to farmland.

        Discussion centered on the site selected for a new sewage treatment plant along Ky. 20 in Boone County, though the plan includes much more than that.

        “I don't understand,” said Dick Ammon, a Boone County resident who owns property next to the site. “When a whole community doesn't want you, why do you want to go there?

        “You're arrogant and I think you ought to consider the people instead of pushing something down their throats.”

        Others complained that the public was not adequately involved in the process and that the hearing should have been held before the site was selected.

        No one at the hearing discussed the plant that is scheduled to be built in Campbell County at an undetermined location.

        Jeff Eger, district general manager, said he understands residents' concerns but that they have had 11 months to make their opin ions known about the site.

        He said that since the facility plan was unveiled in 1998, there were at least four public meetings, one in each county.

        “You can't go out and have a public hearing until you know a little about the sites,” he said. “They don't really want answers. They want to voice opposition.

        “They're frustrated and they don't want it. We understand that. If we could make the stuff disappear into thin air we'd do that.”

        Mike McKinney, an attorney for some opposing residents, said the hearing didn't change anything.

        “If anything it raises questions about the propriety of what they're doing,” he said. “If the site has already been selected then why have a public hearing after the fact?

        “The public process has been limited from the beginning.”

        The public has until June 14 to comment on the draft. To obtain a copy of the plan, call the district office at 578-7460.


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