Wastewater Treatment System
for the Mountain Road Campus
Recently there has been some confusion and concern expressed on social media and local news media about the proposed wastewater treatment system for the Mountain Road campus. Unfortunately, it has stemmed from some posts that contained misinformation and false statements which has only created more confusion. Some have stated or assumed we want to discharge sewage into the Gunpowder River or mistreat the environment in some way. We feel it is important to bring the facts to light in order to bring clarity and assuage concern.
October 2019 Update
What is true is that Mountain has been engaged in a solution-seeking process for our septic system on our Mountain Road Campus for several years. We have followed a thorough process outlined by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), sought the technical expertise and advice of Maryland Environmental Service, an independent State agency, and utilized the services of a private engineering firm.
Most recently, we were engaged in MDE’s process for a surface discharge permit and the installation of a state-of-the-art Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). The permit is the most protective that MDE has ever considered, and the water discharged from the proposed WWTP would far exceed the already stringent requirements for purity and monitoring. The system was designed specifically for the Chesapeake Bay area. The effluent from the WWTP would be far cleaner than the stream into which it would flow and would be monitored for optimal temperature, which is why these systems are in use all over the state and flowing into streams and rivers.
At the same time, even with the presence of all these realities, the public meetings that were part of this process and the subsequent media publications revealed some concern about this project, of which we were not unaware. So we decided to push pause on the process and work with MDE to think creatively, re-evaluate all the factors and possibilities, and discern if there were any other viable options. Because of the advancement of technology and the purity levels of the effluent that are made possible by MBR (membrane bio-reactor) technology in wastewater treatment systems, our research has led us to the conclusion that subsurface discharge on our campus is possible. As a result, we have alerted MDE that we are no longer pursuing the surface discharge permit.
In the meantime, we have suspended the discharge of any effluent from our current system. It is being contained onsite and hauled off by a third-party septic hauling company. The ultimate solution will require still more research, exploration, and planning, but we are confident that this thorough and environmentally-sound process will lead to an environmentally-sound solution, which has been our commitment from the beginning.