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Saturday February 6th, 2016 6:51AM

Toccoa business causing a stink with residents

By Bryan Pirkle Reporter
TOCCOA - A North Georgia composting business is facing a serious challenge from locals who say the stench emanating from compost piles is negatively impacting the community.

According to Fox 5 News, the company, called Wilbros LLC, purchased an abandoned thread factory 3 years ago and has been using various types of waste, ranging from food to human sewage, to compost on the site ever since.

Toccoa residents, increasingly agitated that their complaints have gone unanswered, have begun to protest the company, and their watchdog efforts have led to dozens of code citations being levied against Wilbros.

Last month residents trained their focus on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and its Environmental Protection Division. Two DNR board members have either personal or business connections with Wilbros' owner, Joe Wilbanks, leading some to believe the agency's inaction may be related to these contacts.

Wilbanks agreed to a consent order from the EPD this month, after failing to comply with a similar order issued in March. DNR officials believe that the requirements set forth in the order, which include building expensive structures to contain the compost piles and no longer accepting human waste, will help contain the smell.

Unsatisfied with the progress being made, residents have asked a judge to step in and shut down the business, but a decision on the matter is not expected until after the holidays.
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