Friday, December 29, 2006

Written 12/29/2006 (Updated 1/14/2007)

Details of Friends' Challenge to EPD Draft Permit

The Board of Directors of the Friends of Barber Creek, in documents submitted at the December 12 hearing before the Environment Protection Division and afterwards, has asked the EPD to deny Oconee County’s request for a permit to discharge wastewater into Barber Creek from an expanded Rocky Branch waste treatment facility.

The board made the request because it believes the County and the EPD incorrectly identified the receiving stream for the effluent, because it believes the County did not correctly post public notice about a hearing it held on the permit application in March of 2006, and because it believes Barber Creek already violates one state standard for water quality.

All three of these issues were raised by speakers at the public hearing at the Oconee County Civic Center on December 12. Reporters for the Athens Banner-Herald and The Oconee Enterprise did not include them in their stories on the meeting. The Oconee Leader did.

I gave reporters for all three papers copies of documents that support the Board’s position on the issued raised. (These documents are available on the Friends of Barber Creek web site,

Included in the documents I gave the reporters were copies of an e-mail exchange between me and Chris Thomas, assistant director of the Oconee County Utility Department, stating that the County planned to discharge wastewater from the Rocky Branch plant into an unnamed tributary of Barber Creek, although the County had sought permission from the state to discharge directly into Barber Creek.

I also gave the reporters copies of the notices published by law in The Enterprise for the March 14 hearing. Neither of the notices published named the receiving waters for the discharge.

Allan Antley, the first of the speakers at the December 12 hearing, told the EPD that, based on data provided by the County, Barber Creek already exceeds the allowable level of fecal coliform bacteria and asked the EPD to deny the permit on that basis.

The e-mail exchange with Chris Thomas is unambiguous. It also was copied to Gary Dodd, director of the Utility Department. Here is what I asked Mr. Thomas on Tuesday, 9/5/2006:

"(F)rom the map (on the draft permit written by the EPD) and from other maps I have viewed, it appears to me that the discharge from the plant will not be directly to Barber Creek but rather to the unnamed tributary of Barber Creek on the northwest side of the property. Is this correct? Is this a flowing stream, or is it normally dry?"

Here is what Mr. Thomas said on Wednesday, 9/6/2006:

"The discharge will be into the feeder creek. The creek flows year round and actually has a very good existing flow."

The two public notices in The Enterprise also are clear, and, according to the County, these are the only two such notices that were published. One appeared on February 9, 2006, and the other on February 23, 2006. Neither of them makes any reference to Barber Creek or any stream.

The public simply was simply to provide input on the proposed upgrade to the Rock Branch Land Application System. The upgrade, according to the ads, "will allow for treatment of 1.0 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater to reuse quality standards." What will be done with the wastewater is not specified.

The fecal coliform standard is more complicated. On page 2 of the Fact Sheet attached to the draft permit handed out at the meeting, Water Quality Standards are listed. For the Months of May through October, fecal coliform is not to exceed an average of 200 fecal coliform units per 100 ml of water. For the months of November through April, fecal coliform cannot exceed 1,000 fecal coliform units per 100 ml.

The standard allows for some deviations for the 200 fecal coliform unit limit during the summer, "when contact recreation activities are expected to occur," but the standard says the deviation would have to be from non-human sources.

At the December 12 meeting, Oconee County officials presented a chart at the rear of the room showing that its samples from Barber Creek showed an average fecal coliform units of 219. No detail on the sampling dates or procedures was provided.

The County also presented this chart at the March 14 hearing. At that meeting, according to the official transcript, Mr. Thomas said some fecal coliform readings from Barber Creek have been as high as 512. The source for the data in the chart was the Watershed Protection Plan–Barber Creek and Calls Creek Watersheds, September 2005. The document was prepared by consulting firm Jordan Jones and Goulding (JJG).

Getting access to County data on the quality of water in Barber Creek has not been easy. On August of this year, I asked Mr. Thomas for data on Barber Creek in an email message. He responded the next day saying the County did not have sampling data from Barber Creek.

I filed an open records request with the County on December 19, 2006, asking for access to The Watershed Protection Plan–Barber Creek and Calls Creek Watersheds, prepared in September of 2005 for the County by JJG and for "any other documents or reports in possession of the County or its consultants containing information about the quality of water in Barber Creek or Calls Creek that have been produced since 2000."

On December 28, 2006, I reviewed the 2005 Watershed Protection Plan of JJG as well as a second report, also produced by JJG, called Final Report, February 2004, Watershed Assessment and Protection Plan Calls Creek and Barber Creek Watersheds.

Both documents contain tabled data showing fecal coliform counts for three sites on Barber Creek, all in Oconee County. According to both tables, the data come from May to November of 2000. The tables do not agree, however, and the 219 figure appears only in the 2005 report. The 219 figure is labeled as for the May to November period for one of the sites, with a reading of 572 for the "dry" months and 101 for the "wet" months. Another of the sites produced a reading of 337 for the May to November period.

The tables also contain data for Calls Creek, where the County currently operates a treatment plant. One of the readings for Calls Creek was 1,020!

In our filing with the EPD after the hearing, we also indicated that data gathered on May 1, 2002, by The Watershed Group at the University of Georgia as part of a City of Statham watershed assessment show three samples drawn from three different sites on Barber Creek in Barrow County with fecal coliform readings in excess of 500. Two of those samples were in excess of 1000.

We also argued that EPD has erred in not examining the condition of Barber Creek and the unnamed tributary to Barber Creek before issuing a Waste Load Allocation. Since Oconee County officials repeatedly have asserted that Barber Creek already is polluted, we wrote, it was inappropriate for the EPD to issue a Waste Load Allocation based solely on inferences about the quality of the water in the Creek from a theoretical model.

The Waste Load Allocation is the EPD's determination that a stream is capable of receiving polluted water.

In addition, we said, we fell the EPD has erred in not incorporating into the assessment of the application the adverse effects of the increase in volume of water in Barber Creek because of the Rocky Branch waste treatment plant. Barber Creek frequently floods, we noted, and any increase in water at flood stage will adversely affect the property of citizens downstream from the plant and increase the possibility of loss of life and injury.

Why the Banner-Herald and Enterprise stories ignored the specifics of the Friends of Barber Creek challenge to the County is an interesting question. The Oconee Leader has consistently provided the best coverage of this topic, though it, too, ignored the fecal coliform part of the challenge.

What we are saying is pretty simple. We think the County should have to tell people where the sewage water is going to be discharged in the public notice for a hearing on the topic. We think the application should correctly identify the stream, and we think the permit should as well. And we do not think a permit should be issued if Barber Creek already violates the state standard for water quality. We think water volume should be considered in making a decision.

The EPD will have to respond to the Friends filing, probably in January or February.

In the meantime, please refer anyone interested in the issues we raised to this posting and the Friends web site. It is pretty clear that we cannot depend on at least two of the newspapers to tell the story.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Written 12/10/2006

To Fix Barber Creek, Add Some Treated Sewage Water

Barber Creek is so dirty that even treated sewage water cannot hurt it, Oconee County officials have been saying for the last two years.

In fact, according to those officials, a little treated sewage water would do the Creek some good.

The story, as it turns out, is more complicated than that.

Little is known about the quality of water in Barber Creek, largely because the Georgia Environmental Protection Division does not take into consideration the actual quality of the water in a stream in making its decision about the ability of the stream to handle sewage plant discharge!

In fact, the state of Georgia has not studied Barber Creek and has only general notions about how clean or dirty Barber Creek is where Oconee County plans to discharge 1.0 million gallons per day of sewage water from its Rocky Branch plant.

The state made its decision about waste load allocations–the preliminary and controlling decision in drafting a permit to discharge into Barber Creek–without even gathering data on the quality of water in the stream or requiring Oconee County to submit data of that sort.

The EPD used maps and descriptive data on the Creek’s size and volume of flow to estimate, based on theoretical models, how much dirty water the Creek can handle.

Then the EPD told Oconee County that Barber Creek could handle more pollutants–based on those theoretical models, not on a knowledge of how dirty or clean the Creek actually was.

The EPD informed Oconee County it had to design a plant that would produce discharge that would not exceed set standards for 10 characteristics: flow, biochemical oxygen demand, ammonia, dissolved oxygen, total suspended solids, total residual chlorine, fecal coliform bacteria, pH, total phosphorus, and turbidity.

Oconee County has designed its planned expanded sewage treatment plant on Rocky Branch road with these requirements in mind, and the EPD has issued a draft permit for the County.

Citizens will get a chance to ask questions about that draft permit in a meeting scheduled by the EPD for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 12, 2006, at the Oconee County Civic Center on Hog Mountain road.

Citizens can ask what the state really knows about the quality of water in Barber Creek and why it believes it can handle reuse quality water–also called grey water–from a sewage plant.

Citizens also can ask the state to begin taking action to actually clean up the Creek if the Creek is as dirty as Oconee County officials say it is.

Paul Lamarre, an expert on the modeling the EPD uses to make the decisions about sewage plant discharges, was kind enough to explain the process to me in detail in two different telephone conversations I had with him the week of November 27, 2006. He also referred me to documents on the models used to make the allocation.

The modeling process, he emphasized, involved "no raw data" based on samples of water taken from Barber Creek.

Mr. Lamarre said he expects to attend the hearing the EPD has scheduled for December 12.

Even if Barber Creek is as dirty as County officials claim, part of the logic of the argument that a little more dirty water will do it some good is wrong, according to the information Mr. Lamarre gave to me.

A big focus in the waste load allocation decision, he said, is the theoretical amount of dissolved oxygen in a stream. Dissolved oxygen, up to a point, is good, since the bacteria in a stream that break down biodegradable materials that enter the stream require oxygen to do their work.

Water coming out of a sewage plant usually is high in dissolved oxygen, since part of the treatment process involves stirring the water. Oxygen is dissolved in the water through contact with the air.

The amount of oxygen in a stream also is affected by temperature, and a slow-moving stream low in volume in warm weather would benefit from the addition of water high in oxygen. But a colder stream, which holds more oxygen naturally, with a higher volume isn’t as likely to gain as much from the addition of water high in dissolved oxygen.

Yet Oconee County officials have been clear in saying they plan to discharge into Barber Creek from the Rocky Branch plant when they cannot sell the reuse water for irrigation. They won’t put the water in the Creek when it might do some good, in other words, but only when the Creek isn’t like to benefit much from the additional dissolved oxygen.

The other contaminants that are in sewage water–such as fecal coliform and ammonia–will only add to the amount of contaminants in the stream. Because of the increased volume, these contaminants will be diluted.

The County actually began the process that will come to a head with a decision on a discharge permit in September of 2004 when it asked the EPD for a Waste Load Allocation for Barber Creek. It was granted the allocation in August of 2005. Since that time, it has gone forward with the permitting process, filling out forms and submitting information about the plant.

The County, however, has not provided the state with data on the quality of water in Barber Creek in applying for the Waste Load Allocation or in any of the documents released to the public prior to a March 14 hearing.

The assertion that Barber Creek is currently so dirty comes from sampling data included in separate report produced by consulting firm Jordan Jones and Goulding in September of 2005.

At the hearing the County held on March 14, 2006, officials made reference to the data from those samplings and the characteristics of effluent from the County’s only other sewage treatment plant, now operating on Calls Creek. The Rocky Branch plant will be similar to the Calls Creek plant in design.

The charts showed that Total Suspended Solids and Fecal Coliform levels were higher in Barber Creek than in the effluent from the Calls Creek plant.

Chris Thomas, assistant director of the Oconee County Utility Department, acknowledged that there is a lot of variation in samplings from Barber Creek. "It’s your discretion as to whether your children play in the Creek," he said. "I was born and raised in Oconee County. I played in creeks my whole life. Getting in them now, I kind of think twice about it because I see samples like that."

Wayne Provost, long-time County official and planner, told those at the hearing that the new treatment plant would allow the County to put water back into Barber Creek that "would be a better quality of water than what’s in Barber Creek upstream from the facility."

Jimmy Parker, senior project manager at Precision Planning Inc., another consulting firm aiding the County, pointed to a jar of water from Barber Creek and a jar of water from the treatment plant. "I mean, it’s crystal clear," he said of the latter.

Even if it is true that Barber Creek is now polluted–and it would be a surprise if it were not given that it now flows through so much urban sprawl in the County--the addition of "crystal clear" water won’t help the kids playing in the Creek unless the County changes its plans.
Kids don’t play in the Creek when the water is cold, but that is when the County plans to discharge its treated effluent.

When the Creek is low and hot and flowing slowly, the "crystal clear" water is going to be used on spray fields and for irrigation of lawns and recreation facilities.

It is just another part of the confusing story surrounding the County’s plans for sewage treatment and discharge into Barber Creek.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Written 12/09/2006

Conflicting Statements about Demand for "Reuse Quality" Water

At the same time that Oconee County officials were telling citizens the County rarely will discharge treated sewage water from the County's Rocky Branch plant into Barber Creek because the County expects such strong demand for reuse water from customers in the County, they were telling state officials just the opposite.

In filing the application for the permit to begin discharging treated sewage water into Barber Creek, Oconee County rejected a "No Discharge Alternative," saying it could not rely on the demand for the discharge water and needed to be allowed to put the water into the Creek.

The County even expressed doubt that customers ever would be willing to accept reuse quality water.

I’ve filed two open records requests and asked specifically for evidence of contracts the County had signed or even discussed with reuse customers. I was provided no evidence any such contracts even record of discussion exist.

Despite this, Gary Dodd, Oconee County Utility Department director, and Chris Thomas, assistant director, have continued to reassure residents who live along Barber Creek that the County will only infrequently discharge treated sewage water from its Rocky Branch plant into Barber Creek.

In an article in the September 7 issue of The Oconee Leader, Mr. Thomas is quoted as saying:

"There’s a chance we would discharge some into the creek, but not on any regular basis, and it would be a slow release over a 24-hour period," Thomas is quoted as saying. "We’re not going to open up a gate and let 1 million gallons" into the Creek.

The draft permit, however, would allow the County to discharge exactly that amount–1 million gallons of water per day, into Barber Creek. The County could release that amount every day once the plant is in operation. The County also has discussed expanding the plant to 4 MGD of discharge at some point in the future.

County officials have acknowledged they will be most likely to discharge into the creek in periods of heavy rains, when there will be little demand for reuse quality water and when the County’s spray fields will be unable to handle discharge. Of course, that is when the creek will be high and prone to flooding, and extra water from the sewage plant will only increase the water volume.

The EPD has refused to consider the issue of water volume in drafting the permit for Oconee County for its Rocky Branch plant. That permit is still under review and will be the subject of a public hearing at 7 p.m. on December 12 in the Oconee County Civic Center on Hog Mountain road.

At a March 14, 2006, hearing on the expansion of the Rocky Branch plant, the County estimated that 1 MGD of discharge would amount to less than an inch of increase in the height of water flowing down the creek–in a dry period. The increase in height would be less when the creek is flooding, the officials said, since the water would already be outside its banks!

The County officials seemed to think that was reassuring, but adding any water to a flooded creek only increases flooding.

In December of 2005, as part of the application for the permit to discharge into Barber Creek, Oconee County completed an Antidegradtion Review. Such a review is designed to show what is being done to prevent degradation of state waters.

In seeking to expand the Rocky Branch plant, one option is termed No Discharge, meaning that no water from the treatment plant would be discharged into any state water. Oconee County rejected this option, stating that the county has "just recently" begun putting into place a system of distribution of nonpotable reuse water.

"It will probably be a number of years before there is enough infrastructure and customers to use a substantial quantity of reuse water produced at the proposed facility," according to the Antidegradation Review produced for Rocky Branch.

Even when the reuse market exists, according to the report, "it is foreseen that some of these applications (e.g. turf irrigation) will experience short-term drops in demand due to rain and other weather conditions." For this reason, the County said, it needs a discharge permit.

Oconee County officials have talked frequently about large-scale users, such as golf courses and parks, of its reuse quality water. But in the Antidegradation Review, the County says these are not likely to develop:

"(I)t is questionable whether or not potential large-scale users would be willing to accept a water supply at reuse standards vs. drinking water standards. In addition, the pattern of land use projected for Oconee County through 2015 and 2025 preclude the development of such water users...(I)t is clear that development in Oconee County, and the resulting increase in wastewater flows to Rocky Branch WRF (Water Reclamation Facility), will come before substantial demands for reuse water are realized. Therefore, urban reuse is not considered to be an acceptable NDA (No Discharge Alternative) for this project."

Oconee County specified in another document it produced for the application process, Rocky Branch WRF Environmental Information Document, that it proposed to treat sewage at the Rocky Branch plant to "water reuse standards as outlined in EPD’s Guidelines for Water Reclamation for Urban Water Reuse."

That document is in the Library (5/3/06 entry) of the Friends of Barber Creek web site, The document discusses possible use of reuse quality water and specifically recommends against any use that brings the water in contact with the skin. The document, on page 13, gives the following guideline for use of the water:

"The customer shall not allow reclaimed water to be used for consumption (human or animal), interconnecting with another water source, sprinkling of edible crops (gardens), body contact recreation, filling of swimming pools, or sharing a common reclaimed service between properties."

Oconee County passed an ordinance in March of 2005 stipulating that reuse water should NOT be used for the following: "drinking, food preparation, hand washing, automobile washing, or irrigation of fruits and vegetables."

Despite this classification, Utility Department Director Dodd was quoted in The Oconee Enterprise on September 21, 2006 as saying:

"You wouldn’t want to drink it (the water from the proposed Rocky Branch plant) because of the implications, but we are planning dual water lines in new subdivisions that want them, ‘grey’ water suitable for lawns, washing cars and dogs and such benign uses."

This is another example of conflicting statements from government officials about Rocky Branch sewage treatment plant, or, as the County prefers, Water Reclamation Facility.

In an open records request I filed with Mr. Dodd on February 24, 2006, I stated:

"Pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Law (O.C.G.A § 50-18-70 et seq.) (the "Law"), you are hereby requested to make available for review and copying all files, records and other documents in your possessions that refer, reflect or relate to reuse of water from the Rocky Branch Waste Treatment Facility or any other waste treatment facility in Oconee County."

Mr. Dodd provided no evidence that any company or organization has actually discussed using water from the treatment plant.

I filed the following request on August 11, 2006:

"Pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Law (O.C.G.A § 50-18-70 et seq.) (the "Law"), you are hereby requested to make available for review and copying all files, records and other documents in your possessions that refer, reflect or relate to the County’s request for a permit to discharge wastewater from the Rocky Branch Waste Treatment Plant into Barber Creek and that were produced after February 24, 2006."

It also did not produce any written evidence of any discussion with any potential user of water from the Rocky Branch plant.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Written 12/04/06

A Note on Breaching Dams and Draining Ponds

Just before Thanksgiving I posted a report about a request for a stream buffer variance pending before the state Environmental Protection Division. I indicated at the time that the action being proposed might actually help the creek, but I noted that the public notice made it impossible for citizens to even guess about the nature of the project.

When I wrote that note I had not yet reviewed the site plans in the Oconee County Planning Office. I now have, and the plans reveal the challenges facing us as we try to get stormwater runoff under control in the county. Earlier this year we were able to get the county to pass a tougher stormwater ordinance than developers wanted. Now comes the tricky part: enforcement. This buffer variance request illustrates why.

On June 15, 2006, Steve Hansford, senior code enforcement director for Oconee County, wrote to S&ME Inc., an engineering and environmental services company based in Spartanburg, S.C., in reference to Club Estates subdivision, being developed on Barber Creek road near the intersection with SR53 (Hog Mountain road).

According to Hansford’s letter, the property contained "two lakes which are spring fed and with no outlet structures" other than spillways. Hansford further wrote:

"Based on the fact that the lakes are spring fed and water leaves this property at certain times of the year, and the pond has a defined channel with wrested vegetation in some areas, it is the decision of the Local Issuing Authority that these lakes are considered state waters and therefor must be protected by a 25 ft. buffer." Oconee County is the Local Issuing Authority he was referencing.

The very next day, on June 16, 2006, Julie Mitchell Smoak of S&ME submitted an Application for a 25 Foot Vegetative Buffer Encroachment to the EPD on behalf of A. Fortner Construction Inc. of Loganville.

According to a letter submitted by Ms. Smoak with the application, the two dams on the streams "have large woody vegetation that can undermine the dam integrity." The letter further states: "The dams associated with these ponds have been destabilized and damaged due to age and are in need of repair."

The solution, according to Ms. Smoak, was installation of "outlet structures in both ponds." These structures, a "forebay system," would not allow the ponds to "function in water treatment" but would allow the ponds to hold stormwater. The plan, the letter said, is for the ponds to "function as stormwater detention, as well as amenities" for the subdivision.

"In order to install these outlet structures in the ponds, small portions of the State Water 25-foot buffers...may be disturbed," Ms. Smoak wrote.

The letter indicated that there was an alternative to this action. The developer could install detention ponds "adjacent to the existing ponds." But this would "decrease the developable land within the property, thereby decreasing the number of proposed lots."

In sum, the developer wanted to use the existing ponds for stormwater detention rather than build separate facilities for that purpose in order to generate more money.

The letter does not explain whether the existing ponds could handle the additional water from stormwater without the construction of the "forebay system." Nor does it explain what impact stormwater runoff might have on the quality of the water in the ponds.

On October 26, 2006, Peggy Chambers, environmental specialist with the EPD, wrote to Fortner Construction indicating that it was required to publish a "legal notice in the local newspaper" that contained a "description of the proposed buffer encroachment" as well as the location of the project, where citizens can view site plans, and to whom citizens can send written comments.

The letter was copied to Melvin Davis, chairman of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners, and Ms. Melissa Henderson, then head of Oconee County Code Enforcement. Ms. Henderson has since left that post, and Mr. Hansford is in charge of the office.

Here is the Public Notice exactly as it appeared in the November 9 issue of The Oconee Enterprise:

The proposed Barber Creek Road project involves the installation of outlet structures in two ponds. Proposed impacts to the 25-foot buffers associated with these dams include 2,807 square feet (64.32 linear feet) and 1,535 square feet (32.33 linear feet) of the 25-foot buffers adjacent to the open waters. The property is located northeast of the intersection of Barber Creek Road and State Road 53. The public can review site plans at the Oconee County Planning Department, located in Watkinsville, GA. Written comments should be submitted to the Program Manager, NonPoint Source Program, Erosion and Sedimentation Control Unit, 4220 International Parkway, Suite 101, Atlanta, GA 30354.

On November 8, 2006--one day before the public notice appeared in the Enterprise--Bill Noel, senior ecologist at S&ME, wrote to Justin Greer of Beall & Company in Bogart "summarizing the jurisdictional water services that have been performed" by S&ME regarding the Barber Creek road property.

According to that letter, Ms. Smoak and two colleagues of S&ME "carried out a jurisdictional waters determination" on the property on May 25, 2006, that is, about three weeks before Mr. Hansford wrote his letter.

According to the letter, however, at some latter date "subsequent observations were made on the property after both pond dams had been breeched (spelled incorrectly in letter) so that the jurisdictional waters determination could be refined..."

In a letter of November 17, 2006, also to Beall & Company, S&ME sought to "elucidate for you permitting and regulatory guidance for the proposed activities on the Club Estate development." The letter reported that the site had been "observed for the presence of ACE jurisdictional areas" at some unspecified time. ACE stands for Army Corps of Engineers.

According to the November 17 letter, "Two farm ponds were observed onsite. Both pond dams had been breeched (misspelled in original) and drained." The letter states that "jurisdictional wetland areas" were observed near both ponds.

For the record, a "breach" is a gap made in a wall or line of defense, and to "breach" is to make such a gap. "Breech" is either the buttocks or the rear part of a gun. There is no verb, "to breech."

OK. So the misuse of breech isn’t the issue.

I obtained the November 8 and November 17 letters from Krista Gridley, planner at the Oconee County Planning Office. She also showed me a series of maps, many of which show the ponds and a series of lines around them. She said other details would have to come from Code Enforcement.

I have decided to hold off visiting Code Enforcement. Instead I wrote to the EPD and asked it to require Fortner Construction to publish a second Public Notice–one that explains in simple English what it is proposing to do.

I’ve also asked the EPD to explain how it is possible that the two ponds in questions have been breached (I used that word) and drained in advance of issuance of a permit for encroachment on the buffer.

If one needs an encroachment variance permit to install a "forebay" system, it seems to make sense one would need an encroachment variance permit to breach a dam and drain the pond. But I’m no engineer. And I’m not an employee of the EPD.

If you are curious about these things as well, you might write and ask the EPD for clarification. I’ll let you know what I learn if you let me know what you learn.

I don’t think we have to ask where the water went from the ponds when they were drained. It isn’t called Barber Creek road by coincidence.