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Sewage plant could ruin marsh
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Editor, The Liberty County Development Authority has applied for a permit to build a wastewater treatment facility that will dump up to three million gallons a day of “treated” wastewater into the Laurel View River. I will be the first to agree that what Liberty County officials decide to do in Liberty County is their business and the business of the residents of Liberty County ... if it only affects Liberty County.
This proposal does not fit that description. The Laurel View River, into which they propose to create a dump of so-called “treated” wastewater, connects with the Jerico River, Belfast River, Dutchman’s Bay, Tivoli River and Medway River - which in turn connects with St. Catherines Sound. All of these bodies of water are shared by both Bryan County and Liberty County.
Three million gallons of “fresh” water treated or not, would wreak havoc on the salt marsh, mud flats and salt-river eco-systems that are involved. This area is an upriver tidal plain. Laurel River will be affected and it is in Liberty County but it is connected to the entire salt-marsh/estuary eco-system. The saltwater rivers between the two counties form a common boundary.
I am astonished that the members of the LCDA, who are residents of this coast, would even propose such a disaster. I hope it is because they have not made the connection to the disastrous consequences of such a plan. Understandably the LCDA is anxious to accommodate Plum Creek, the developer, a multi-billion-dollar timber company/developer based in Seattle, Wash. They are reported to be the largest landholder in the United States with over eight million acres under their control. Over a period of time they have bought up tremendous amounts of the timberland south of Bryan County and are now planning a massive development in Liberty County. That development is Liberty County’s business. The protection of the marshlands is everybody’s business.
State regulations require that public notification about a proposed project, such as the wastewater treatment plant, be provided to the public in the area involved. That requirement seems to have been satisfied by a notice posted in the Coastal Courier.
The notice was posted on Oct. 24. Interested parties have 30 days to respond to the state Environmental Protection Division, asking for a public hearing on the issue.
Sen. Eric Johnson, along with several other state-level coastal area political representatives have been apprised of this situation. None have responded to date.
Our Bryan County commissioners are now aware of the situation and I’ve been told County Administrator Phil Jones, at the direction of Chairman Jimmy Burnsed, will contact state officials regarding this matter.
The devastation to the eco-system can be immeasurable caused by the discharge of the enormous volume of freshwater by this wastewater treatment facility. It can change the habitat for countless birds and wildlife. It can destroy food sources for many forms of life in and out of the water. It will change the flora and fauna. It will affect the salinity levels of water thereby destroying infinite amounts of crab, shrimp and oyster larva. It can cause silting in ways that can’t be determined in advance. It can sterilize the mud flats, killing the marsh grasses; resulting in the elimination of an extremely vital filtering system — a habitat that is home for innumerable creatures and a natural buffer against wave action caused by storms.
I strongly suggest you contact your friends and relatives that reside in Liberty County and let them know what you think of the $30 million-tax-dollar, wastewater treatment project being planned by the LCDA. Should such a terrible precedent be set, by the authorization of such a system, it can be repeated again and again along our coast until the millions of dollars generated locally by our fisheries such as the crab and shrimp fisheries and the entire salt marsh/estuarine eco-system will be in jeopardy. The food chain for sport fish can be affected.
Those persons wishing to protest the project can add their voice to a request for a public hearing with a time and place convenient for the residents of Bryan County.
To add your voice, send a fax with the following heading:
Jane Hendricks Program Manager
Permitting, Compliance & Enforcement
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division
4220 International Parkway, Suite 101
Atlanta, Ga. 30354-3902
REF: Liberty County Development Authority LCDS TEWRF
(Liberty) NPDES Permit No. GA0039101, for the proposed Tradeport East Water Reclamation Facility Located on 2170 Sunbury Road in Midway, Ga. 31320
Roy Hubbard,
Richmond Hill
Hubbard is a charter boat captain
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