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Treatment plant designed to protect environment
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Editor, As I read the letter to the editor from Mr. Roy Hubbard from Bryan County in Wednesday’s edition of the Coastal Courier, it reminded me of the old adage that one shouldn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.
From the accompanying photograph of Mr. Hubbard, it appears that he might be a pleasant and interesting individual with whom to converse. He most likely has many interesting stories to share with his charter boat customers.
I only wish that Mr. Hubbard would have given us the opportunity to talk with him before spreading such amazing tales about our board and our project by contacting either our office at the Liberty County Development Authority or that of our engineers, CH2M Hill, to voice his concerns and obtain information about what we are really doing. Instead, as the result of his failure to request information of any kind, his letter was unfortunately full of incorrect assumptions and inaccurate accusations.
I will not attempt to address all of the inaccuracies in Mr. Hubbard’s letter in the interest of brevity for your readers. Instead, let me respond to the most flagrant pieces of misinformation.
1. The board of directors of the LCDA did not wander blindly into the design of a system for the Tradeport Business Center and surrounding service delivery area. Rather, the LCDA spent three years selecting an internationally recognized design firm, CH2M Hill, and choosing the best technologically advanced treatment system possible, a membrane bioreactor (MBR), for the design of its water reclamation facility.
Lesser quality systems could have been designed to meet current state standards, but the LCDA went above and beyond to provide the absolute best system available for meeting both existing and anticipated future state standards and protecting the environment of Liberty County and coastal Georgia.
The MBR system will produce an effluent quality meeting the limits set forth in the Georgia Department of Natural Resource’s “Guidelines for Water Reclamation and Urban Water Reuse.” These guidelines are even more stringent than the limits set by the state of Georgia in the waste load allocation received by the LCDA in 2007.
2. Any treated effluent that might ultimately be released into the Laurel View River will not wreak havoc on the salt marsh, mud flats or salt-river eco-systems. Due to the superior quality treatment made possible by the highly advanced MBR system, including ultra-violet disinfection instead of chlorine, the treated effluent that might ultimately be released into the Laurel View River equates to the equivalent of releasing one drop of salt into an entire bathtub full of water.
3. The volume of effluent envisioned by Mr. Hubbard is vastly exaggerated. The system designed for the LCDA is not a typical sewage treatment facility. It is an advanced water reclamation facility (WRF). As such, as much of the reclaimed water as possible will be used for irrigation and other non-potable uses, not sent to the river.
4. The advanced WRF will be designed for 3 million gallons per day (mgd), but is scheduled to be constructed in two phases: Phase 1 will provide 2 mgd of capacity, and Phase lA will increase the capacity to 3 mgd. However, in order to accommodate initial startup flows, only 800,000 gallons per day of membrane treatment capacity will be installed initially. Additional membranes will be added as demand warrants.
5. The LCDA’s advanced WRF was designed and bid prior to any knowledge of potential plans by Plum Creek. Although the LCDA’s facility might potentially be able to serve Plum Creek at some point in the future, no one from Plum Creek has contacted the LCDA about any such possibility, and it was certainly not envisioned as an element of the demand for the WRF.
6. Unlike the land application system (LAS) wastewater treatment facility typically built in coastal Georgia, the WRF to be built by the LCDA will significantly reduce the demand on Liberty County’s limited potable water supply provided by the Upper Floridian aquifer by using as much of the reclaimed water as possible. This critical environmental issue was one of the major factors that influenced the LCDA’s decision to select the MBR system despite its significantly greater expense.
The LCDA has already installed approximately three miles of 12-inch reclaimed water main (purple pipe) within the Tradeport East Business Center and will be constructing a 1.5 million gallon reuse water storage tank as part of the WRF. Once the WRF is constructed, Target, Tire Rack, IDI, all new developments, and the Tradeport East Business Center entrance road and open space will use reclaimed water for irrigation instead of potable water.
The LCDA is also exploring the use of reclaimed water for other non-potable purposes such as toilet flushing, fire fighting, and process make-up water for clean-green light manufacturing facilities.
Once aware of the LCDA’s extensive efforts, anyone truly concerned about the environment should be encouraging other governmental and private entities to adopt the LCDA’s aggressive clean-green standards and use of the advanced MBR system for the benefit of the environment of coastal Georgia.
The LCDA shares Mr. Hubbard’s concern about the environment and believes that the more the public learns about the facts supporting the advanced water reclamation facility, the more we can together advance environmental quality in coastal Georgia. We encourage any interested party to contact us for review of the antidegradation assessment, an environmental information document, a design development report and construction drawings for the WRF at the LCDA’s office at 425 West Oglethorpe Highway in Hinesville.
Please call our Director of Administration & Finance Carmen Cole at 368-3359 to make an appointment for a review of the extensive documents. A two-page public information document regarding the WRF is also posted on our Web site. for those parties desiring to visit us electronically for a summary version. Look under “Who We Are” and click on “In The News” on the home page OR click the scrolling message at the bottom of the home page.

Ronald E. Tolley, CEcD
Chief Executive Officer LCDA
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