SNF Chemtall has requested a modification of its wastewater pretreatment permit from Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division, but some area residents would like an opportunity to discuss the issue before the permit is approved. A public comment period regarding the permit ends Feb. 28.
Chemtall’s current industrial pretreatment permit was issued in 2007 and established discharge limitations on a number of industrial chemicals related to the company’s work. Chemtall manufactures water-soluble polymers that are used in municipal, industrial and wastewater treatment facilities as well as specialty applications, according to its Web site.
Under the modified permit, daily maximum-quantity discharge limitations and 30-day average discharge amounts for the chemical byproducts of Chemtall’s operations would increase, some slightly more than others.
The permit specifies that Chemtall’s pretreated effluent be discharged to the city of Riceboro’s wastewater treatment plant. Riceboro Mayor William Austin explained that effluent leaving Chemtall must enter the city’s facility at the same levels as household wastewater in order to be treated again.
The Riceboro plant releases the treated wastes into spray fields in a land application process. Afterward, it re-enters the Ogeechee Basin, Austin said.
Midway resident John Henderson expressed his concerns for the impact that the permit modification would have on the marshland near his home. After learning about the request from Chandra Brown, executive director of Ogeechee Riverkeeper, Henderson wrote to the local branch chief of the EPD and requested a public hearing on the permit request prior to its approval.
“I believe that citizens should be allowed to discuss this matter with EPD and Chemtall,” Henderson’s letter said. “There have been several incidents of unauthorized discharge of possible harmful material into the nearby marsh and creeks.”
EPD environmental engineer Alan Leake confirmed the permit modification is still in draft form, but to his knowledge no one at EPD is working on it.