Citizens for Oconee's Future, Inc.
P. O. Box 1301
Watkinsville, GA 30677
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has notified us that a permit has been granted to Oconee County to discharge 1,000,000 gallons of treated wastewater into Barber Creek. The Board of Commissioners will now proceed with the development of the additional sewage treatment capacity. A message from Lee Becker follows with additional information on the issue.
Please keep up with this issue as it is still possible to mitigate some of the adverse impact if the Board of Commissioners chooses to do so. Keep in mind that spills happen. The County just recently notified the public of a spill at its Calls Creek treatment plant. The neighborhoods along Barber Creek must be protected from untreated or poorly treated sewage flows down Barber Creek.
As you probably already know, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division has granted a permit to Oconee County to begin discharging 1 million gallons per day of treated wastewater into Barber Creek.
As expected, the EPD made its decision on narrow technical grounds. Now the Oconee County Board of Commissioners must decide whether to build the Rocky Branch sewage plant for which the permit was issued.
The Commissioners can make a decision to address some of the key concerns citizens voiced about the plant. The Commissioners can decide to treat the water to a higher standard so that people can come into skin contact with it without danger. They also can agree to restrict the discharge into Barber Creek to times when it will not contribute to flooding.
The EPD ignored some of the key arguments we made about the draft permit, including the inappropriateness of the public notice for the hearing and violation of the fecal coliform standard.
I will be talking with legal advisers about whether we can force the EPD to reconsider its decision.
In the meantime, the spotlight is on the Board of Commissioners. We will need to do everything we can to keep it there.
For more information on the EPD decision, go to: