RICHMOND HILL -- What exactly is the impact of one part of fresh water per trillion on the salt water marsh?
That is one of the questions Bryan County Commissioners say they are asking about a proposed Liberty County Development Authority wastewater treatment plant near Midway. They said at Tuesday’s county commission meeting they requested the file on the project from the Environmental Protection Department and hope it will help explain the plant’s impact. Wayne Murphy from CH2MHill, the group which wants to build the plant, addressed the commission and provided video slides of the impact study results and other models to simulate the impact of the fresh water emissions from the plant.
"Gentlemen, what it comes down to is the impact zone is so tiny, it’s almost immeasurable," Murphy said.
After the meeting, County Administrator Phil Jones said Murphy’s information was helpful, but the exact effect of a seemingly small amount continues to concern him.
"We need to get a person from wildlife to speak about it. There is a lot of concern over the effect of a part per trillion. We just don’t know right now, but we intend to find out." he said. "We’ve requested the EPD’s files and will review them and make them available to the public if they want to see them."
Bryan County resident Lynda Morse said she believed there are options for the plant’s run-off water, such as freshwater ponds.
"If there’s a choice, it doesn’t belong in the marsh." She said. "Shrimp, crustaceans, crab, mollusks, they all live and breed where the plant wants to dump. We don’t know the effects this fresh water could have on them."
Chairman Jimmy Burnsed said Murphy answered a lot of questions, but not all.
"We will continue to seek answers to the concerns of the citizens and the impact the plant could have on the marsh," Burnsed said.
The DNR is holding hearings on the plant Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Midway Civic Center on Hwy. 84.