By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Additional water is issue, not type
Placeholder Image
Editor, Mr. Tolley, CEO of the Liberty County Development Authority, seems to like old adages. He used one to attack my article regarding the LCDA’s plans for a wastewater treatment plant. He suggested that I was not letting the “facts get into the way of a good story.”  It brings to mind another adage, “The truth can hurt.”  
Mr. Tolley suggested that I should have conferred with CH2MHILL engineers before I expressed my opinion in the paper. I don’t need to spend time with CH2M engineers to learn how well the LCDA plant will function. The plant’s ability to scrub sewage is not an issue.
Mr. Tolley further stated that I “vastly exaggerated the volume of “effluent” to be discharged. I reported in my article in the Bryan County News that the capacity of the finished system would be 3mgd. That is: three million gallons a day of treated wastewater being discharged. Mr. Tolley challenged that number by providing that the plant would start up slow with just 800,000 gallons a day being discharged.  He continued that the plant would be built in two phases starting with just a measly 2mgd in the first phase and ending up with 3mgd. Those are the facts according to Mr. Tolley, and I fail to see the logic of his argument.
An informational document prepared for the LCDA by the CH2MHILL plant engineers refers to yet another phase, phase three!  The total volume of discharge gets moved up to almost 5.5 million gallons a day of potential discharge. That’s another fact. The document refers to a projected 25 years of hooking up to increasing amounts of industrial, commercial, medical and residential development. I doubt that I will be here in 25 years to write this column.
The ability of the proposed wastewater treatment plant to clean the sewage is certainly a positive element but it is not the primary issue now and has never been.  The issue is the injection of treated “fresh” wastewater into a saltwater ecosystem. The potential for an ecological disaster is very possible. Mr. Tolley stated that they were as concerned about the environment as I am. I suggest they take a few minutes to study the life cycle, feeding methods and contribution an oyster makes to our salt marsh ecosystems. The state of Georgia and marine scientists within our university system are currently working to better understand the delicate nature of the oyster and its contribution to the ecosystem. Scientists are physically attempting to re-establish depleted oyster beds. The treated wastewater cannot be part of their environment. The cleaner the water, the worse it is for an oyster.
Perhaps the CH2MHILL engineers should spend some time studying the life cycle of white shrimp, brown shrimp, blue-shell crabs, and the many fish species that frequent the upper reaches of our salt marsh system during their life cycle. Now move on to the other saltwater aquatic, semi-aquatic and land-based creatures that complete the food chain, including all humans. Can the engineers now tell me how the “harmless” discharge will not affect the life in and out of the salt marsh?
In reviewing the very thick document prepared for the LCDA by CH2MHILL, “Final Environmental Information Document,” I have read several statements that seem to be more conjecture than scientific fact. Now I know that we don’t want to tell stories without the facts just to make them sound good.
On page ES-1 there is a statement to the effect that the Laurel View River is a “warm-water” river, so the discharge will have no effect on the water temperature. A page later, under “protected species,” there is a statement that no manatees have been reported but they might occur near the “discharge.” Is that not indicative of warmer water?
Chesapeake Bay is a perfect example of some good intentions gone badly. No doubt there were a lot of wastewater engineers, environmental engineers and politicians at every level of government involved in every step taken to turn what was one of the most productive saltwater ecosystems in the world into a comparative dead sea. There have been many years of futile attempts to repair the damage. The latest plan involves a $30 billion effort to try and regain some small part of the bay’s former productivity. It is true that there are a number of problems and sources of pollution involved in the damaging of the bay but it is also a fact that wastewater treatment plants have been a source of pollution in the bay. Another is impervious surface runoff from development along with silt from farming and construction sites.
The salt marsh belongs to all the people of Georgia. A threat to the health of that ecosystem is everyone’s business. That’s another fact.
We need your help! Don’t let apathy reign! Be a part of the solution. E-mail and leave your contact information. We will include you in the loop and advise you to help.

Roy Hubbard
Richmond Hill
Sign up for our e-newsletters