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Richmond Hill reports ongoing 'spill' at facility

POSTED: June 7, 2011 12:00 p.m.

The “major spill” that was reported last week at Richmond Hill’s wastewater treatment facility was actually ongoing for eight days, according to a press release from the city.

But until the treatment plant gets expanded and upgraded as planned, City Manager Mike Melton says he expects the facility, which is largely controlled by Mother Nature by way of constructed wetlands near Sterling Creek, will remain out of compliance for some time.

The press release, which was issued Thursday, states that the spill reported last week as occurring May 17 was ongoing until May 25. Instead of the more than 1 million gallons of treated wastewater that was spilled into Elbow Creek, the amount was actually more than 3 million gallons.

Because the wastewater during that time period contained more than 50 percent of the permitted amount for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), a chemical that is typically absorbed by the wetlands when conditions are as they should be, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division considers the event a major spill.

“It’s really a permit exceedance and not a spill,” Melton said. “Nothing is actually spilled into Elbow Creek.”

Read more in the June 4 edition of the News.

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