Unless Resolution 281 is rescinded, sewage from Lakeside’s first phase is slated to be pumped under Route 50 and run to the existing Trappe wastewater treatment plant, where it will get added to all of the rest of Trappe’s waste, treated in some fashion, and discharged into an “unnamed tributary” of La Trappe Creek where Trappe’s effluent has been directed for decades.
The Trappe plant is old, and was last upgraded in 2002. The low standards it is expected to meet; its ability to meet those standards consistently, month in and month out; and MDE’s monitoring and enforcement of its operation are all issues of controversy—with or without the additional waste load coming from Lakeside. (As to that second point for example, due to some “washout,” the plant was in violation for three straight months earlier this year, discharging as much as 230% of what is permitted even under its antiquated standards.) You will probably hear more about these issues in coming weeks.
The Trappe sewerage treatment plant is right on the edge of the Town, hard against the Talbot line. The treated effluent is piped into Talbot County, discharging into an “Unnamed Tributary” at Island Creek Road. (The area is zoned “Countryside Preservation,” by the way.) At this point, that effluent is no longer Trappe’s problem—it’s now on Talbot County land, in Talbot County waters, and is a Talbot County problem.
In learning about Lakeside’s impact on our County, I’ve been hearing and reading about this “Unnamed Tributary,” for some time—for example, in MDE’s permits for the Trappe plant. It is a small stream essentially beginning at the sewage plant and running about a half mile (as the crow flies) till it spills into the headwaters of La Trappe Creek, and from there into the Choptank. La Trappe Creek and the Choptank are both on the EPA list of impaired waters; the lower Choptank (downstream of La Trappe) is cited for fecal coliform issues, among others, and I believe La Trappe Creek is also.
I live on the Miles and have never been on La Trappe Creek, or even to Trappe Landing, much less have I seen this “Unnamed Tributary.” So, Saturday a week ago (the 11th), I roped my kayak into my wife’s SUV (really should get a carrier), and drove down to the landing. It was a great afternoon for kayaking—upper 70’s sunny, no wind. (When I got back, I checked and saw that I’d been there just about low tide.) I had to paddle upstream less than a half mile to find where the stream carrying the discharge from the Trappe sewage plant fed into La Trappe. It was a random day, and I presume sometimes conditions on that “unnamed tributary” are better, and sometimes they are worse. Nevertheless, below are some of the photos I took that day.
Is this our Talbot County? Are we really going to say it’s fine for Lakeside to increase the load on this already dire waterway–by 27%, maybe more? Have we no means to influence this, no leaders who will make it right?
If you are concerned about these matters, and about the Lakeside subdivision going forward, follow the news on social media (“Trappe the Waste” FB page, or “Talbot Integrity”). And indicate your support for Petition 21-01, which is alive and well, by emailing to that effect to email@example.com.
Dan Watson is the former chair of Bipartisan Coalition For New Council Leadership and has lived in Talbot County for the last twenty-five years.