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Judge weighs permit appeal
Decision unlikely before late May
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Forsyth County News

 

A hearing on Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper's appeal of a Forsyth County wastewater permit wrapped up this week.

A decision in the case is expected in late May, said Tim Perkins, the county's director of water and sewer.

In September, the Riverkeeper group appealed the permit from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, arguing that the allowable pollutant levels were "unnecessarily weak."

The permit, issued Aug. 18, grants the county the ability to release 6 million gallons per day of treated water from its Fowler wastewater facility into the Chattahoochee River.

The facility in south Forsyth currently discharges about 3 mgd, but the additional capacity for Fowler and the planned Shakerag plant are intended to serve future needs.

The evidentiary hearing focused on whether the discharge is authorized and necessary to accommodate the area's social and economic development, which was one of six counts brought forth in the Riverkeeper's petition.

Judge Kristin Miller of the Office of State Administrative Hearings will weigh whether the limits set on pollutant discharges are adequate per state anti-degradation laws.

"A lot of interesting discussion took place. It's just two opposing viewpoints of what's necessary," Perkins said.

"We think we did what the rules and regulations and the [Department of Natural Resources] board expect."