TCEQ Public Meeting Sewage Lake Hawkins

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 Responding to a petition with hundreds of signatures and a request by the Wood County Commissioners Court, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has set a public meeting to hear concerns regarding plans by Fellowship Church of Grapevine Texas for a sewage treatment plant that would place treated effluent directly into Lake Hawkins.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, February 5 at 7 p.m. It will be held at the Hawkins Multi-Purpose Community Center at 300 Lynch Street.

The TCEQ Executive Director has completed the technical review of the application and prepared a draft permit. The draft permit, if approved, would establish the conditiions under which the facility must operate. A preliminary decision has already been made that this permit, if issued, meets all statutory and regulatory requirements.

The draft permit and other materials concerning the application are available for review and copying at Allen Memorial Public Library, 201 Blackbourn Street in Hawkins.

The proposed sewage treatment plant will serve the needs of a camp and retreat center that is currently under construction at the west end of Lake Hawkins. Fellowship Church is seeking a wastewater permit to operate the facility which would be limited to "a daily average flow not to exceed 40,000 gallons per day." Fellowship is planning to conduct camps and retreats beginning this coming summer.

Among others, members of the Lake Hawkins Homeowners Association have expressed concern about the planned direct discharge of the treatment plants' effluent into the waters of Lake Hawkins. Spokesmen for the group have suggested consideration of alternative discharge methods, such as running the effluent into a 8-acre lake being constructed on the property, or piping the discharge directly to the Sabine River.

In announcing the meeting, TCEQ officials said "citizens are encouraged to submit written comments during or before the meeting by mail. The meeting itself will consist of two parts-an informal discussion period and a formal comment period. During the informal discussion period, the public is encouraged to ask questions of representatives of Fellowship Church as well as TCEQ staff concerning the application and the preliminary decision of the Executive Director.

The mailing address for such comments is: Office of the Chief Clerk, TCEQ, Mail Code MC-105, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711.

Beck Construction is serving as general contractors on the ambitious camp project which is projected to open in the summer of 2008. Development costs are estimated at $25-million.

A non-profit agency which owned 1,000 acres at the west end of Lake Hawkins for several years sought applications from churches and after an extensive interview process, Fellowship Church was selected to develop the land.

Roads have been established; construction of the main auditorium and the camp's numerous cabins is nearing completion; and utilities have been installed. The campground features a water park and swim center/lazy river, an 8-acre private lake and a meadowland with trails for mountain biking and horseback riding. Basketball courts and a baseball field will complete the recreational offerings.

A main auditorium will serve as dining room and worship center. The dining facility accommodates 450 people for meals and 800 for worship and fellowship. An arts and crafts room and a medical station is also housed in the auditorium complex.

The camp features three cabin villages consisting of one and two story cabins in four different configurations. All cabins feature large decks, counselor quarters and comfortable living quarters.

Fellowship Church is a non-denominational congregation headed by Ed Young and his wife Lisa. Weekly attendance at the sprawling Grapevine campus is 15,000 to 20,000.

The camp facility will operate year round with a particular focus on a series of summer camps; student retreats in Fall, Winter and Spring; Father/Son campout, Mother/Daughter getaway; student leadership training; graduating senior's retreat; Jr. High transition retreat for 7th graders; volunteer appreciation events, and volunteer training. The camp facilities will also be available to other Christ centered organizations.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 April 2009 15:32