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Niagara County Sewer District

July 9, 2012

STATE OF NEW YORK
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

NIAGARA COUNTY SEWER DISTRICT
DEC PROJECT NO. 9-2940-00024/00001
STATE POLLUTANT DISCHARGE ELIMINATION

Permit No. NY 0027979

PERMITTEE : NIAGARA COUNTY, 314 Davidson Road, Lockport, NY 14094 [Contact: Anthony Hahn, Administrative Director, Niagara County Sewer District #1, 7346 Liberty Dr., Niagara Falls, NY 14304, Tel: (716) 693-0001]

PERMIT : Environmental Benefit Permit Strategy (EBPS) Modification of State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit - Article 17, Titles 7 & 8, Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) and Section 750-1.18 of Title 6 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York (6 NYCRR).

FACILITY : The Niagara County Sewer District (NCSD) is the operator of the Niagara County Sewer District No. 1 Water Pollution Control Center located at 7346 Liberty Drive, Niagara Falls, New York, which discharges to the East Branch of the Niagara River, a class-A special water.

HISTORY and PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS : New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Department or DEC) staff issued a SPDES permit to NCSD in 2004. As a result of the EBPS review, the Department determined that the permit needed to be modified and issued a notice of complete application on November 10, 2008. On that same date, the Department staff made the draft modified permit available for public comment. The proposed modifications include Outfall 1: settleable solid limits have been revised based upon DEC guidance, best professional judgment, and the facility's discharge monitoring report (DMR) data. Quarterly monitoring data for total nitrogen shall be reported. Total phenolics have been revised to a water quality based effluent limitation from the current action level. Action levels for nickel and zinc have been increased based on the DMR data. Based on monitoring results using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) method 1631, mercury is not included in the draft permit. Whole effluent toxicity (WET) testing is revised to quarterly testing for one year and the permittee shall repeat the quarterly WET testing every fifth year.

The draft permit schedule of compliance includes a requirement for the permittee to develop and implement a facility specific capacity, management, operation and maintenance (CMOM) program. The CMOM program is intended to reduce wet weather flows in the sewer system and eliminate by passing of the wastewater treatment plant by improving the management, operation, and maintenance of the sewer system. The CMOM program would include provisions for investigating and correcting sewer defects and capacity constrained areas of the sewer system. Bypasses of the wastewater treatment plant are prohibited because they do not receive secondary treatment which is the minimum level of treatment required by the Clean Water Act.

The schedule of compliance also requires submission of: a flow study to evaluate the maximum flow that can be treated at the secondary treatment process; short-term high-intensity sampling program for cyanide and mercury; annual bypass report; and wet weather operating report. Discharge notification requirements have also been added.

NCSD submitted comments on the draft permit on January 26, 2009. NCSD representatives and Department staff discussed these comments and reached tentative agreement on all of the issues except CMOM. NCSD continued to object to inclusion of CMOM requirements in the permit and on June 11, 2009 submitted additional comments regarding CMOM. The Department responded to those comments by letter dated April 12, 2012.

REQUEST FOR HEARING : Based upon the NCSD's objections to the revised permit, it requested a hearing on May 26, 2010.

TENTATIVE DETERMINATIONS : The Department staff has tentatively determined to issue the revised proposed modified permit in accordance with New York State's EBPS.

SEQR STATUS : The Department, as lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) review of this action, determined that the action was unlisted and that it would have no significant adverse impact on surface or ground water quality or quantity.

Accordingly, the Department prepared a negative declaration, dated November 7, 2008. This document is available for review (see "Document Availability," below). The proposed permit modifications were the subject of public notice and comment.

STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT (SHPA) : The proposed activity is not subject to review in accordance with SHPA. No review is required under SHPA since there are no eligible or listed properties located at or near the NCSD facility. In addition, although the facility is located within an archaeologically sensitive area, no archaeological investigation is required since the proposed activity (permit modification) does not involve new construction or the significant expansion of existing buildings.

COASTAL MANAGEMENT : The subject of this permit is not located in a Coastal Management area and is not subject to the Waterfront Revitalization and Coastal Resources Act.

PUBLIC HEARING : All persons, organizations, corporations or government agencies which may be affected by the proposed permit modifications are invited to comment on the applications. A legislative hearing on the proposed modified permit conditions will be held to receive unsworn statements from the public at the Department's Region 9 offices located at 270 Michigan Avenue, Buffalo, New York 14203 on August 15, 2012 at 10:00 A.M.

All persons, organizations, corporations or government agencies which may be affected by the proposed draft permit modification are invited to attend the hearing and to submit oral or written comments on the proposed modified permits. Equal weight will be given to both oral and written statements. Please note that it is not necessary to file a written request in advance to speak at the legislative hearing. Written statements regarding the application may also be filed with the Department's Office of Hearings and Mediation Services at the address indicated below either before or during the hearing. The hearing will be conducted pursuant to Part 624 of 6 NYCRR (Permit Hearing Procedures).

The hearing location is reasonably accessible to persons with mobility impairment. Pursuant to State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) § 202(1), interpreter services shall be made available to deaf persons at no charge, upon written request to the Administrative Law Judge identified below at least five (5) business days prior to the date of the legislative hearing session.

ISSUES CONFERENCE : A pre-adjudicatory hearing issues conference will be held at the NYSDEC Region 9 office located at 270 Michigan Avenue, Buffalo, New York immediately following the legislative hearing. Participation at this conference is limited to the NCSD, Department staff, and to any individual or group that has filed a petition for party status. The purpose of the issues conference is to define, narrow and if possible, resolve proposed adjudicable issues which are raised by the permittee or petitioners concerning Department staff's proposed permit modifications and to determine party status for any person who has properly filed a petition. See, 6 NYCRR 624.4(c)(8). ANY PERSONS REQUESTING PARTY STATUS MUST APPEAR OR BE REPRESENTED AT THE ISSUES CONFERENCE IN ORDER THAT ALL PROPOSED ISSUES MAY BE FULLY DISCUSSED. ONLY PROPOSED ADJUDICABLE ISSUES RELATED TO PROPOSED PERMIT MODIFICATIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED. If all disputes among the issues conference participants are resolved or all objections or requests for an adjudicatory hearing are withdrawn or otherwise resolved, the issues conference may be canceled.

FILING FOR PARTY STATUS AND AMICUS STATUS : Persons seeking to participate at the issues conference and at any subsequent adjudicatory hearing must file a written statement requesting party status, pursuant to 6 NYCRR 624.5. PLEASE NOTE THAT MERE OPPOSITION TO THE PERMIT MODIFICATION IS NOT A SUFFICIENT BASIS TO BE GRANTED PARTY STATUS.

ALL FILINGS REQUESTING PARTY STATUS TO PARTICIPATE AT THE ADJUDICATORY HEARING MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE OFFICE OF HEARINGS AND MEDIATION SERVICES AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS BY 3:00 P.M. ON AUGUST 8, 2012: HELENE G. GOLDBERGER, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE, NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION, OFFICE OF HEARINGS AND MEDIATION SERVICES, 625 BROADWAY, ALBANY, NEW YORK 12233-1550; TELEPHONE (518) 402-9003. All persons filing for party status also must deliver a copy of their filing to Scott Crisafulli, Esq., Office of General Counsel, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-1500 and P. Andrew Vona, Esq., Muscata, DeMillo & Vona, L.L.P., 107 East Avenue, Lockport, New York 14094. Petitions sent by facsimile transmission will not be accepted.

ADJUDICATORY HEARING : It is anticipated that the adjudicatory hearing will immediately follow the issues conference on the same day and at the same location.

DOCUMENT AVAILABILITY : All filed permit modification documents, including proposed modified permits and fact sheets, and documents pertaining to public comments and the Department's responses, are available for inspection at the following locations:

1. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,

Division of Environmental Permits, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233, [Contact: Teresa Diehsner, 518-402-9167];

2. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,

Region 9 Office, 270 Michigan Avenue, Buffalo, New York 14203, [Contact: Jeffrey Konsella, 716-851-7070];

3. Niagara County Sewer District, 7346 Liberty Dr., Niagara

Falls, NY 14304, [Contact: Anthony Hahn, 716-693-0001];

4. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,

Office of Hearings and Mediation Services at the address indicated above [Contact: Deborah Vachon, 518-402-9003].

STATUTORY AND REGULATORY PROVISIONS : Environmental Conservation Law article 1 (General Provisions); article 3, title 3 (General Functions); article 8 (Environmental Quality Review); article 17 (Water Pollution Control); article 70 (Uniform Procedures); 6 NYCRR part 617 (State Environmental Quality Review); part 621 (Uniform Procedures); part 624 (Permit Hearing Procedures); and part 750 (State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System).

All persons having an interest in this Project are urged to attend the hearing or be represented either individually or collectively.

James T. McClymonds
Chief Administrative Law Judge

Albany, New York
July 9, 2012

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