County reports another wastewater spill

Published 11:20 am Monday, March 12, 2012

According to Decatur County Attorney Brown Moseley, the county had another major spill at its wastewater plant Sunday, March 4, and reported the incident to the Georgia Environmental Division in Atlanta, Ga., last Friday.

In a spill report given to The Post-Searchlight, Moseley stated that the spill at the Decatur County Air Industrial Park wastewater plant was the result of heavy rainfall on the weekend of March 3-4.

Reportedly, the extra waterflow caused a PVC filter to become dislodged, allowing an “undetermined amount of solids” to pass through the equalization basin, and eventually pumped into the Flint River.
Moseley estimated that approximately 600,000 gallons of “infiltrated water and wastewater” was discharged into the Flint River on March 4, before the spill was addressed and stopped.

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Moseley said the EPD was notified of the spill Friday, which is required by the county’s permit and a consent order. Signs documenting the spill have also been posted at the wastewater plant.

“Decatur County is implementing recommendations to ensure the PVC sock filter is not dislodged during future high-flow events,” Moseley stated in his report. “Decatur County regrets this overflow event, and is presently taking action to minimize the impact of this spill.”

The wastewater plant at the Decatur County Air Park has been a problem for several years.

The county is currently under a consent order from the EPD, relating to the release of improper waste material into the Flint River from the facility. The county entered into that consent order in April 2011, but the investigation into pollution at the wastewater plant began in June 2008. The order required the county to pay a $15,000 fine and take steps to upgrade the treatment plant — those upgrades are currently under way.

In addition, there was a spill that reportedly occurred in February 2011 and which was not reported to the EPD in a timely fashion. Although the size of the spill is not known, several commissioners publicly stated it was more than 160,000 gallons.

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, former County Administrator Tom Patton resigned amid allegations that he failed to report the spill. The county is expected to name an interim county administrator at their Tuesday, March 13, meeting at 9 a.m.