(Sept. 12, 2014) Treated effluent from the Mystic Harbour wastewater treatment plant in West Ocean City will be used for irrigation at Eagles Landing Golf Course, pending the approval of the Worcester County Commissioners following a public hearing on the issue.
Additional treated effluent would be redirected to the Ocean City wastewater treatment plant when capacity does not exist at the municipal golf course or the injection wells currently used. The application for the text amendment to the county’s Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Plan Amendment also requests the expansion of the permitted flow from the Mystic Harbour wastewater treatment plant from the currently approved 250,000 gallons per day to 450,000 gallons per day.
The Mystic Harbour plant was built with a capacity of 450,000 gallons per day, but to fully utilize that capacity, provisions must be made for the disposal of the treated effluent. The plant now uses shallow groundwater injection wells for effluent disposal. Those wells, however, are not reliable and are permitted for only 250,000 gallons per day of effluent disposal.
After negotiations, the mayor and City Council of Ocean City and the Worcester County Commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding that would allow the county to use Eagle’s Landing Golf Course for the disposal of the treatment plant’s effluent. Because of the high quality of the effluent, the disposal is considered a beneficial reuse.
Further, the county’s Comprehensive Plan states that land application of treated wastewater is the preferred wastewater disposal method.
County staff investigated the possibility of disposing of some effluent at the Ocean City Airport, but that could not be done because of AFF regulations and “bureaucratic nuances,” Environmental Programs Director Bob Mitchell told the members of the Worcester County Planning Commission during their Sept. 4 meeting in Snow Hill.
The mayor and City Council of Ocean City also agreed to allow effluent to be redirected to the existing West Ocean City sewer system during off-season periods when the golf course irrigation system is inactive. They also agreed to connect the golf course, the Humane Society, a maintenance building and the Ocean City Airport to the Mystic Harbour wastewater treatment plant. That will eliminate significant septic systems.
In return, the county waived certain connection charges and will complete significant upgrades to the golf course irrigation system. A pipeline is needed between the Mystic Harbour wastewater treatment plant and Eagle’s Landing Golf Course, but some of the pipeline was already installed in anticipation of approval of the changes, Mitchell said.
The Planning Commission discussed the proposed changes during their Sept. 4 meeting and found that that they are consistent with the county’s Comprehensive Plan, a finding that is necessary before the county’s final approval.