EPD Speaks On Proposed Wilbros Consent Order

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division is commenting on the proposed consent order it has reached with Wilbros.

The EPD released its proposed consent order with the Rose Lane facility at the center of an odor controversy Tuesday.

According to EPD Assistant Director Jim Ussery, the agency felt a consent order agreed to with Wilbros would bring about a resolution quicker than the administrative order the EPD issued back in July. That administrative order, which Wilbros had appealed, would have suspended all EPD permits granted to the facility.

Ussery said the EPD believes this proposed consent order, which would take the place of the administrative order, will go a long way towards solving the odor problem.

“Yes, we do (believe that),” said Ussery. “It includes a third-party odor survey and we will be able to quantify the odor. There will be ongoing monitoring of the odor, so we do know that. In addition, probably the biggest feature of the order is putting a cap on the anaerobic lagoon with a flare system and that has been a large source of the odors up there.”

Ussery went on to explain that the third-party odor monitoring will be done by a company approved by the EPD from a list submitted by Wilbros.

He did say that the EPD will still be involved in the odor monitoring.

“Ultimately, the EPD will be on site during the odor survey to make sure that it is calibrated such that the smell corresponds with what the meter shows us, so that we know the meter is reading a certain number, we would not have any odor,” said Ussery.

The proposed consent order also includes implementation of a Design Development Report to give the EPD an enforceable plan for operation of the wastewater system. That report would also detail changes to control odors.

Ussery said Wilbros has submitted that plan as part of the consent order process for review and approval by the EPD.

“The problem we have always had is asking people to develop plans and we did not want to do that,” said Ussery. “We want to see exactly what it is, so the exact provisions of the Design Development Report, or DDR as we call it, is included on the website. You can actually go through and see how we know they will be complying with each of the units there.”

The proposed consent order also requires Wilbros to pay a $25,000 negotiated settlement for alleged violations of Georgia solid waste and water quality control laws.

In addition, the proposed order requires a compost design and operation plan to establish procedures for accepting compostable wastes and prohibits acceptance of waste that would overload the treatment system.

The consent order is not in effect yet as it is currently going through the public comment period.

Ussery said that people are encouraged to read the information and comment on the proposed order.

“We have put not only the consent order, but all of the supporting documents which show the actual plan, the odor survey, and the odor monitoring on our website so folks can look at it,” said Ussery. “We will receive comments on it. We will consider and respond to those comments. If the order needs to be changed, we may very well change the order. If it needs to be changed substantially, we will go back out on public notice, so everybody can see what we are considering executing.”

The proposed order is on public notice through November 14 before a final decision on the order is made and can be viewed by going online to www.georgiaepd.com and clicking on the “What’s New at EPD” button. Copies of the order can also be obtained by calling 1-888-373-5947.

Public comments on the order can be mailed to:

Ms. Linda MacGregor, Chief
Georgia EPD Watershed Protection Branch
4220 International Parkway, Suite 101
Atlanta, GA 30354