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The Sentinel-Record/Richard Rasmussen CAMP PENALIZED: A sign near the entrance to Camp Yorktown Bay, which was penalized in December for exceeding effluent permit limits.

The Sentinel-Record/Richard Rasmussen CAMP PENALIZED: A sign near the entrance to Camp Yorktown Bay, which was penalized in December for exceeding effluent permit limits.

Church camp penalized for wastewater violations

By David Showers
This article was published January 2, 2018 at 4:00 a.m.

A church camp permitted to discharge treated domestic wastewater into lower Lake Ouachita has agreed to pay a $4,600 civil penalty for exceeding effluent permit limits.

The Arkansas Conference Association of Seventh-day Adventists entered into a consent administrative order with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality in December after the camp's discharge monitoring reports revealed excessive levels of carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand, fecal coliform, ammonia nitrogen and total suspended solids.

The association owns Camp Yorktown Bay north of Mountain Pine, leasing the camp property at 361 Camp Yorktown Lane from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The camp is on a point protruding into a cove northeast of Blakely Mountain Dam.

The camp has until May 31 to comply with permitted effluent limits but can continue discharging into the cove during the interim, ADEQ said. The payment of the fine is due by February.

The state granted the camp a permit to release up to 6,000 gallons a day of treated domestic wastewater. According to the permit, the camp's grease traps and the contents of its septic tank system are to be disposed of at the Hot Springs wastewater treatment plant on Davidson Drive.

Samples are collected several times a week via a port downstream from the chlorination system, said Jerry Williams of Engineers Inc., who in September submitted a corrective action plan on behalf of the camp. One sample per month is submitted for analysis to an ADEQ-approved lab, which submits the discharge monitoring report to ADEQ.

Williams said load violations for carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand, a measure of the oxygen consumed by the decomposition of microorganisms, resulted from reporting errors. The camp turned over reporting responsibilities to the lab in February 2017, creating confusion that Williams said has since been remedied.

"We've got that straightened out," Williams said. "A number wasn't written clearly, so it was read wrong. When the lab started taking over reporting of the DMR, the first one had the flow wrong. We haven't had excessive flow for any time at all. We stay well below the permitted 6,000-gallon level."

He attributed the March 2017 violations for total suspended solids to heavy rainfall that flushed sediment from the wastewater plant's sand-filtration system.

A septic tank system collects flow from the girls and boys cabins and the dining hall. The flow proceeds to a dosing tank, which carries it from the septic tank to the sand filtration system. Three quarters of the sand filtration discharge gets recirculated through the filters, with the balance going through a tablet chlorinator before it reaches the lake.

Williams said fine particles that didn't settle into the septic tank system reached the two sand filters and were flushed out by heavy rains.

The plan Williams submitted said deteriorated chlorine tablets caused by low flow rates led to fecal coliform bacteria violations reported in April 2017, an issue the plan said can be corrected through better maintenance of the tablets.

He said the ammonia nitrogen violations are difficult to avoid during the summer months. His plan calls for replacing air bubbler pumps and a soda-ash feeder.

"We estimate that that will be put in during the spring," he said. "It will improve ammonia treatment, which everyone has problems with."

Stephen Orian, president of the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, said the addition of new cabins has allowed the camp to operate year round. Civic organizations and other faith-based groups also use the facility, he said.

Local on 01/02/2018
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