Thursday, April 7, 2016
State Moves To Approve US Nitrogen Permit Amendment
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Less than a month after it was submitted the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has signaled its approval for an amended storm water permit for US Nitrogen to cover runoff from a water treatment plant.
In a notice issued today, Vojin Janic, a TDEC official, said the plan submitted by US Nitrogen on March 14 would be covered under a general permit issued previously.
"We are hereby notifying you that your facility is covered under this general permit," the notice posted on the TDEC website states.
The notice also states that the storm water permit for the facility will be amended "no later than 60 days" to address additional requirements.
The TDEC action angered local opponents of the US Nitrogen project, who have been questioning both state and federal officials about the notice and the apparently new disclosure of a water treatment plant.
"For TDEC to override its own rules to accommodate US Nitrogen has made the permitting process in the state of Tennessee a really ugly act of lawlessness," said Park Overall, adding that "it shows the underbelly and how far it's willing to go to break the law."
She said the developments also show "the lack of involvement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which appears not to be willing to protect the people in these communities."
The Thursday notice was addressed to US Nitrogen official Hollie Binkley. Neither she nor US Nitrogen manager Andrew Velo responded to requests for information on the permit amendment or the water treatment facility itself.
US Nitrogen submitted notice of its intent to amend the permit on March 14. The notice was filed jointly by US Nitrogen and the Industrial Development Board of Greeneville and Greene County.
In the March 14 notice US Nitrogen said a non-potable water treatment plant had been constructed and is located in Midway near the intersection of McDonald Road and West Seven Springs Lane.
According to the notice, US Nitrogen will operate the plant as agent for the Industrial Development Board of Greeneville and Greene County.
"As operator of the (water treatment plant) WTP, US Nitrogen has developed and implemented the storm water pollution prevention plan for the facility," the notice states.