is a recent letter that is being widely circulated to bring attention to an
environmental issue affecting the Ouachita River. The letter states
the opinion of Friends of Felsenthal, Inc. in reference to the Proposed El Dorado
Wastewater Effluent Pipeline to the Ouachita River:
FRIENDS OF FELSENTHAL, INC.
P. O. BOX 904
Ronnie Greer, President
392 Nick Springs Rd.
El Dorado, AR 71730
March 28, 2006
Re: Proposed El Dorado Wastewater Effluent Pipeline to the Ouachita River
To all concerned,
On behalf of the Friends of Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, over a 100 member,
not for profit volunteer organization, I am writing to share our serious concerns
surrounding the referenced project and its potential impact on the Ouachita River
and downstream wetland systems.
According to the information we have, this project, as currently proposed,
calls for approximately a 9.5 mile pipeline, to be constructed that would transport city
municipal waste water along with effluent from El Dorado Chemical, Great Lakes Chemical
(now Chemture) and Lion Oil Companies to a discharge point on the Ouachita River. Natural
resources presant within the Ouachita River floodplain downstream of the proposed discharge
point are tremendous and include excellent sport and commercial fisheries, excellent resident
wildlife populations and excellent migratory bird resources including winter waterfowl populations
approaching ½ million birds.
The Moro Bay State Park, Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, Lower Ouachita/Beryl Anthony
Wildlife Management Area and Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge in northern Louisiana
are just some of the public lands downstream of the discharge location and on into the floodplain
of North Louisiana and The Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge and Bayou Desiard, which the
cities of Monroe, LA. receive their city water. Felsenthal Refuge alone receives over 400,000
visitors annually which generates millions of dollars to the local and regional economy.
Save the Ouachita, Inc., also a not for profit conservation organization with several hundred
members in 2004, hired a nationally recognized environmental engineer, Dr. Clifford Randall,
Virginia Tech University, to evaluate the potential environmental impacts associated with this project.
Attached for your review and information is a summary of Dr. Randall's preliminary evaluation and
recommendations following his recent tour of the proposed project. Our concerns echo those of
Dr. Randall. We have him looking at the "Umbrella Permit" the Arkansas Dept. of Environmental
Quality has issued. If you would like printed copies sent to you of the permits or Dr. Randall's report, we will
be happy to send them to you.
While the Friends of Felsenthal oppose the project as currently proposed, due to no consideration
being given to other approaches or cumulative impacts, we also desire to support the city and the
industries that would benefit from the project in the exploration and implementation of alternatives
to the project. We could support and would suggest examining alternatives that would either eliminate
the potential negative impacts or substantially minimize the potential impacts while mitigating those
impacts that cannot be eliminated.
To our knowledge, actual scope of this proposal along with effluent discharge amounts have not been
made public, nor evaluations of cumulative impacts developed, so it is impossible to fully evaluate
the proposal. The entire permitting process for this proposal should receive full public and professional
scrutiny through development of viable alternatives that examines cumulative potential impacts while
providing opportunities for public involvement in accordance with established NEPA processes.
We were promised a year ago, when we strongly brought up the detrimental impact this would have,
to the attention of the ADEQ and EPA in our region, that a year long testing period would be done to form
a Baseline for Water Quality to do modeling runs of changes in the parameters caused by the impact
of the outfall from this pipeline. .As it has not even been a year and we have not been informed what the
baseline is, how could they possibly set any limits? We had respectfully requested Arkansas Department of
Environmental Quality, as the permitting agency, to provide adequate opportunity for full public involvement,
including formal public meetings and solicitation of formal comments prior to issuing any permits for effluent
discharge into the Ouachita River. To this point, in the permitting process, we are not aware of any formal examination/disclosure of potential impacts being provided to the general public nor have any alternatives
been developed. It should be abundantly clear to anyone that this entire process must, with all diligence,
seek the best possible solution for eliminating long term impacts given the nationally significant resources
placed at risk by the proposal.
The ADEQ has published in the local paper, that a public meeting will be held in El Dorado, AR at
The Best Western, Kings Inn, on May 18th, 2006 at 6:00 pm.
Clean water and the wildlife and recreation that accompany it are essential to enhancing our quality of life
in south Arkansas. The river along with the nationally important resources on public lands within the Ouachita
Basin downstream of the proposed discharge point are gems in south Arkansas' crown and the project could
jeopardize these gems unnecessarily.
If any of you have had the opportunity to fish or hunt or just enjoy viewing the wildlife along the Ouachita River,
you could never forget what a great gift it is we have and would want to keep for generations to come.
We are asking for any help we can get with comment points provided in writing by certified mail prior to
the week of June 1, 2006 to the ADEQ opposing this permit. Please feel free to contact us,
Ronnie or Janice Greer,
392 Nick Springs Rd.,
El Dorado, AR 71730,
Home (870) 863-3737
or cell (870) 310-6601
if you need additional information. We look forward to your response and any comments and aid you could give
us in this matter. You may go to the Ouachita River Foundation to view some of the images and news about this at www.ouachitariver.org. Sincerely, Ronnie Greer, President Friends of Felsenthal, Inc.