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The Sierra Club and Rural Red Rock Community Association will appeal the Aquifer Protection Permit granted to BySynergy for its Bella Terra development by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
By Mike Cosentino
Larson Newspapers
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The Sierra Club and Rural Red Rock Community Association will appeal the Aquifer Protection Permit granted to BySynergy for its Bella Terra development by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

The groups also plan to file a lawsuit under the Clean Water Act, according to Brian Myers, vice president of the RRRCA.

?The agency does not understand this rural area? and ?the extremely stressed geologic conditions in the Red Rock Loop area.?

At issue is the planned discharge of A-plus effluent by the Bella Terra Wastewater Treatment Package Plant.

The groups enlisted the aid of experts to question the state watchdog agency?s ability to keep pollutants out of the aquifer and Oak Creek.

Bella Terra has passed every official requirement to proceeding with the plant and the subdivision. Indeed, ADEQ Director Steve Owens said that the permit is, ?the toughest water-quality permit ever issued for a development of this size.?

The RRRCA and the Sierra Club?s actions indicate that, at least in the case of wastewater treatment in the Red Rock Loop area, ADEQ requirements are inadequate.

The groups feel that current ADEQ drinking water testing requirements ?miss the point? when it comes to some harmful chemicals. The wastewater treatment plant at Bella Terra will not prevent these chemicals from ?migrating rapidly through the rock and gravel,? Myers said, and eventually getting into the area drinking water and Oak Creek itself.

Myers also claims that a sewage treatment dispersal field sits ?squarely in the middle of a flood plain.? A Bella Terra spokesman disputes that any of its three dispersal fields are currently located in the flood plain. He said the group may be looking at old plans where one field was in the flood plain.

ADEQ Deputy Communications Director Thomas Marcinko said that the chemicals the groups are concerned with have no official standards that the ADEQ can test for.

The groups have 30 days to file a notice to appeal. Only those who submitted comment during the public hearings are allowed to appeal.

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