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Hearing on permit delayed
Riverkeeper group questions discharge
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Forsyth County News


A hearing on Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper's appeal of a Forsyth County wastewater permit has been delayed two months.

Originally set for Monday, the matter has been moved to March 21 in the Office of State Administrative Hearings.

The county requested the delay "to do some additional engineering work," said Tim Perkins, director of water and sewer.

In September, the Riverkeeper group appealed the permit issued by 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 in March will examine whether the discharge is authorized and necessary to accommodate the area's social and economic development.

That was just one of six counts brought forth in the Riverkeeper's petition.

Following the evidentiary hearing, the judge will rule on whether the limits set on pollutants discharged are adequate per state antidegradation laws.

The county has hired King & Spalding law firm to represent it in the case, for a cost of up to $200,000.

The appeal has also held up an easement from the National Park Service for a discharge pipe.

The service wants to wait until the permit's status is final, Perkins said.