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EPD has yet to sign off on Guyton sewage plant
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Guyton residents and other citizens who have an interest in the city’s planned wastewater treatment plant may get two more opportunities for input.

Guyton City Council has plans to build a 500,000 gallon-per-day wastewater treatment plant on Riverside Drive, but it has yet to obtain approval from the state Environmental Protection Division.

“It’s not over ’til it’s over,” said EPD engineer Curtis Boswell.

The state requires specific documentation from landowners who are wishing to construct slow-rate land wastewater treatment systems in Georgia. Municipalities in particular are required to file an environmental information document (EID) with the division before the state will review and/or give input on any design reports submitted.

Guyton and its hired engineering firm, Hoffstadter and Associates, have yet to meet the criteria the state requires.

According to EPD’s guidelines, Guyton has to hold a public meeting to “allow public input regarding the proposed project, its design and its environmental impacts.”

Furthermore, the meeting date and time must be advertised at least 30 days in advance and Guyton must be able to receive written comments from the public.

The June 9 public workshop was a joint endeavor with the Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper and was not the public hearing that EPD requires, said Boswell. Although Hofstadter and Associates submitted the EID on June 9, the state will not move forward with a review until the proper protocol and documents are filed and reviewed — which means Guyton will have to hold a public meeting.

According to the guidelines, the design development report can be completed and submitted for review once the public input from the EID has been evaluated and acted upon.

And even if EPD concurs with the information and design plans, the public will get an additional 30 days to comment when the city applies for a Georgia land application system (LAS) permit.

The state’s guidelines also say that if no significant adverse public comments are received, a final land application system permit may be issued for a slow-rate land treatment system.

However, until Hofstadter and Associates receives the EPD’s response to a wasteload allocation request they submitted in January, there will be no public meeting.

Carl Hofstadter said he’s waiting to hear their decision so he can work around the state’s parameters.

“The waste load allocation determines whether or not they will be able to discharge into the river,” Boswell said.

“They’ll probably work around the approved allocation.”

Boswell said he normally tells people that it takes six to nine months for the EPD to review and respond to an allocation request.

Concerned Guyton citizens and adjacent landowners will need to be on the lookout for the advertised public hearing if they want to have their input considered. Although about 100 people attended the joint public workshop on June 9, very few of the attendees lived in the city limits.