TOCCOA - A Stephens County waste treatment facility that has been cited for a number of environmental issues over the past couple of years will have to close.
Georgia environmental officials announced Wednesday that permits for solid waste handling and wastewater permits for Wilbros LLC will be revoked in 30 days. The Toccoa facility must stop receiving waste immediately.
According to a press statement on the Georgia Environmental Protection Division website, Wilbros was the object of hundreds of complaints from area residents who objected to strong odors emitted from the facility.
As a result of those complaints, the Wilbros facility has been cited for numerous violations of Georgia's Solid Waste Management Act and Water Quality Control Act. Since March 2012, EPD has issued enforcement actions to Wilbros with the goal of bringing the facility into compliance. This included an administrative order, two consent orders and a notice of violation, according to the press statement.
"Wilbros has had more than ample opportunity to comply with state and federal laws and rules," said EPD Director Judson Turner. "This action is appropriate given the facility's record of chronic non-compliance."
Violations include loading and unloading waste in unpermitted areas, amounts of materials being stored and processed exceeding regulatory limits, and wastewater discharges exceeding limits for total residual chlorine, dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform and oil and grease. In the past, Wilbros has accepted waste from septic tanks, grease traps and animal processing facilities.
"These types of facilities can serve an important role in recycling and waste reduction provided they are designed and managed properly," said Turner.
Under the law, Wilbros has 30 days to respond to the administrative order and petition for a hearing.