By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MIAMIVILLE - Residents in this small Clermont County town are fighting a proposal they claim will ruin the area's natural beauty, degrade the water quality of the Little Miami River and hinder economic revitalization.
They want the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to reject a "permit to discharge" request from Clermont County, which they believe to be the first step toward building a wastewater treatment plant on the banks of the Little Miami near Wards Corner Road and Ohio 126.
County officials deny choosing a final site for the proposed plant. They contend they had to get their application in quickly because the city of Mason, in Warren County, and the Metropolitan Sewer District's Sycamore plant are also asking the OEPA for permits to discharge into the Little Miami.
OEPA officials say it's hard to predict how many permits will be granted because they are still a long way from any decisions.
The state agency held a public hearing on Clermont's request last month. A similar hearing for Mason is 7 p.m. today in the Mason Municipal Building, 6000 Mason-Montgomery Road.
Marie Brown plans to attend. She and her husband, Steve, own the Camp Dennison Cafe near the Little Miami Scenic Trail.
She and other residents revived the Miamiville Civic Association and are engaged in a letter writing campaign to keep the county from building a waste treatment facility in their area.
"This is a nice little village and I'd like to preserve it," Brown said. "A lot of people have chosen to live here because of its beauty and its recreational areas. This stretch of the river supports nine canoe areas."
She worries that hikers, bicyclists, canoeists, and others will avoid the area because of a smelly waste treatment plant.
The civic association, she said, also realizes that a new waste treatment facility would mean additional sewers which mean more possibilities for development.
"By no means am I against progress, but we want this area to stay the way it is," she said.
Mason wants to build a new plant and expand its water treatment plant so it can process 13 million gallons per day. The Sycamore plant wants to expand to 9 million gallons per day with a possibility of up to 30 million per day.
Clermont wants to process about 2 million gallons per day.
Little Miami Incorporated, a Milford-based conservation organization, wants the OEPA to consider studying current discharge amounts and their effects on the river, before approving any new discharge requests.
Sheila McLaughlin contributed. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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