Brown suggested that waste-water flow projections for the year 2010, which is the purpose of the Phase III study, be modified to reflect new information about the capacity of the Brandywine to handle sewage.
Brown listed his primary concerns as groundwater depletion, which would reduce the stream flow, and further degrading of the Brandywine from more development and more sewage.
He asked that each municipality review its flow projections for DARA facilities, to see whether they could be cut, and at the same time identify additional areas within its borders suitable for land disposal.
"West Whiteland, with help from Rouse, (should) closely examine the potential for maximum use of on-site disposal or spray irrigation within the Churchill development," Brown wrote. "Determine how much, if any, flow could be realistically handled that way. If it cannot, provide reasons."
This recommendation closely followed suggestions made to the committee a few months ago by West Chester environmental consultant Thomas Cahill and the Brandywine Conservancy.
Brown also said the time had come to find out if East Whiteland wanted to be part of DARA. The township is a bulk customer of the Valley Forge Sewer Authority, and it has not formally approached DARA about handling any sewage that would result from the Rouse development, which involves both East and West Whiteland.
Brown urged that a study of water supplies be completed as soon as possible so the committee could consider its recommendations.
Brown said that once his recommendations were complete, the committee should narrow the list of alternatives under consideration to three:
* Treat all flows at the current DARA plant.
* Maximize use of spray irrigation and subsurface disposal, with the balance being sent to the DARA plant.
* Combine with one or two smaller treatment plants.
Treatment capacity at the DARA plant recently was expanded to 7 million gallons a day . The Phase III committee is looking at ways to increase that capacity to 12.8 million gallons a day.
Dave Yaeck, director of the Chester County Water Resources Authority, said that the committee should not limit the alternatives to land application. He said more innovative techniques involving the use of wetlands and marshes went beyond just spray.
Rae Tanner of the Chester County Health Department offered her agency's help in explaining spray-irrigation.
"People really don't have any concept of what you're spraying," she said.
Rouse engineer Robert Sekola said that state regulations governing soils and wetlands stymied efforts to investigate the alternatives suggested.
Charles Rehm of the state Department of Environmental Resources said that if it was demonstrated that soils could handle proposed treatment alternatives, his agency was willing to look at them. But, he added, the state is very conservative on such issues.
Both Brown and representatives of the Brandywine Conservancy are set to meet with the DER to discuss revising state guidelines on spray irrigation before next month's Phase III meeting.