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Turpentine plant's wastewater request discussed at public hearing

POSTED: November 9, 2017 8:37 p.m.

SPRINGFIELD -- A $43 million turpentine factory's request to send its wastewater to a Springfield treatment facility before being diverted into Ebenezer Creek didn't wash with many of the citizens at a Thursday public hearing.

Nearly 60 people at attended the 45-minute event conducted by the Springfield City Council at the Effingham County Administrative Complex. About a dozen citizens voiced their concerns about risks to the creek, one of the area's leading natural resources and tourist attractions.

"Although the city is not required to hold a public hearing, the council members and I all felt it was appropriate to have one so we could get your comments so that we can make a decision that is in the best interest of the community," Mayor Barton Alderman said.

Before opening the floor, Alderman reminded the audience that DRT America, a U.S. subsidiary of a French company, was built outside Springfield city limits and that the city council had nothing to do with its construction, zoning or permitting. As such, he asked that comments be limited to the wastewater issue.

The plant, located  in the Gov. Treutlen Industrial Park , is designed to take crude sulfate turpentine and process it into other products that can be used in perfume, adhesives and gum. It was recruited to the area by the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority in 2014.

DRT obtained building permits from Effingham County and the facility was erected before sorting out the wastewater issue.

 Corey Schneider, president of DRT America, assured the council that the plant would work to exceed the requirements of its wastewater pretreatment permit, explaining that the system it uses is the same as the one employed by the City of Richmond Hill, which recently won an award for its water quality.

The council will vote on DRT America's request on Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m., also at the Effingham County Administrative Complex.

See the Nov. 15 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.

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