By Michael Howell
The state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has reopened the public comment period for a Ground Water Pollution Control System permit application that it is being considered on a property located south of Hamilton on Blood Lane. The wastewater system would serve a large retail establishment rumored to be a Walmart.
The public comment period for this draft permit ended on July 10, but based on the comments and feedback received by DEQ during the public comment period concerning the fact sheet, the draft EA, and/or the draft permit, DEQ is reopening the public comment period. The public comment period reopened on August 18, 2014, and will run through October 2, 2014. DEQ has also scheduled a public meeting to discuss the discharge-related aspects of this draft permit. The public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the Tammany Room of the Bitterroot River Inn located at 139 Bitterroot Plaza in Hamilton. The public meeting will be followed immediately by a public hearing where DEQ will receive any additional comments or testimony from the public and other interested entities.
The property on which the retail store would be built is in close proximity to the Grantsdale Addition subdivision where DEQ recently issued another wastewater discharge permit. The issuance of that permit has been challenged in court by Bitterrooters for Planning, Montana Environmental Information Center and the Bitterroot River Protection Association. BFP spokesperson Kelsey Milner said that the Blood Lane permit application suffers from the same deficiencies as the Grantsdale Addition.
Milner said, “The statutes appear to require consideration of impacts on groundwater and surface water, and consideration of cumulative effects; things DEQ dismissed as unnecessary in the Grantsdale Addition case. And now here comes Blood Lane. It is time to demand the law be followed.”
Anyone with questions about the fact sheet, the draft EA, the draft permit, the public meeting/public hearing processes or if you wish to further discuss and/or seek clarification on any of the aforementioned items, contact DEQ Environmental Science Specialist Tommy Griffith directly via phone at (406) 444-1454 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.