The County Council has approved the Town of Trappe’s proposed new development at Lakeside. This approval is problematic. The Council must reconsider its position on this approval.
The hooking up of the initial up to 120 homes into the existing Trappe waste water treatment disposal plant needs to be handled separately from the approval for the remaining homes that will be served by the new disposal system. They should be handled as two separate matters.
The evidence that has been presented about the problems with existing waste treatment plant in Trappe is clear. These problems must be addressed. The Town of Trappe has not been able to handle the management of their treatment plant. Frankly, this is not surprising for such a complex matter and such a small jurisdiction.
Accordingly, the County has the ultimate responsibility to correct this problem. This is not a position that the County wants to be in, but it is. An additional 120 hookups cannot be added to this problem unless and until the system’s problems are fully corrected. The operation of the existing plant must be corrected even if the County must take it over and manage it.
The matter of the additional 2,381 or so houses to be served by the new waste water treatment plant is another issue. I do not know what the correct answer is, but I do know that the County has had to take over the operation of two similar systems in the immediate past, a large one and a small one. The Council needs to assure that this type of problem does not happen in the future with this new proposed plant or the County will be spending money did not plan on spending. We may need to hire our own outside expert consultant to advise us on this type of system.
If the development goes forward as planned it may be a financial burden placed on the County after the fact. All of the County’s careful financial planning will be for naught. The County cannot take the risk of this happening until it is absolutely clear that a failure of this new system will not happen.
The ultimate burden falls on the County. Even if the State issues a permit, the State does not have the responsibility and burden to step in to fix a broken treatment plant. The County needs to be sure of what it is doing before it takes on a responsibility of this magnitude.