If you have not already, please take a moment to visit LLISA.org to read the letter Baxter Healthcare sent in response to our correspondence in August. We are fortunate to have a working relationship with Baxter that allows for communication and the flow of information. Baxter has been a neighbor to Long Lake for 45 years and we hope to maintain a cooperative relationship. In the spirit of sharing thoughts and ideas I want to provide information and resources that support our concerns regarding Baxter's violations of their NPDES permit that allows industrial and sanitary waste to be discharged into Squaw Creek and Long Lake and our subsequent request for their connection to the public sewer.
Arthur Gibson, VP, Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability at Baxter makes many points that are important to address. First are the downstream wetlands that Baxter claims to support with their discharge water. Baxter's water flows through a creek/ditch informally known as Fort Hill Creek. This is a naturally occurring creek that drains the land around Baxter's plant and adjacent neighborhoods. The water flows through the creek and into Mud Lake/Squaw Creek (see below image). Baxter makes a point in their letter that their discharge helps support downstream wetlands and Squaw Creek in times of drought. Please know that Long Lake existed at its current levels before Baxter started discharging water into the creek and this will not change if they move to sanitary sewers. Their waste water does not impact the level of Long Lake during times of drought.
To clarify Baxter's violations of their NPDES permit see the following links to the Environmental Protection Agency's web site. Here you will see the 10 consecutive quarters Baxter has been in violation of their permit and the top pollutants in their discharge including Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) which exceeded permit effluent limits at some point during the past year.
Baxter's Facility Report, see specifically Enforcement and Compliance
Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) Pollutant Loading Tool
Unfortunately it is clear that Baxter's current waste treatment plant is not adequate to handle their current demand given the recent increase in permit violations and exceedences. We therefore have to oppose Baxter Healthcare's industrial and sanitary waste discharge into Squaw Creek and any renewal of these permits which expire in 2018. We further urge Baxter to be held to the same standards as Long Lake residents and connect to the sanitary sewers as we did 35 years ago.
Please find a form letter on our web site you can use to voice your concern about Baxter to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Please take a moment to sign and send. Your support and our collective effort is needed to make sure our voice is heard in Springfield.