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Group takes stance on sludge fields

POSTED: August 8, 2012 4:00 a.m.

A petition is circulating against a proposed sludge spray field in southeastern Dawson County.

Distributed by the Dawson County Homeowners Civic Association, the petition aims to stop property owner Ken Curren from depositing Class B treated liquid sewage on about 65 acres near Lumpkin Campground and Harry Sosebee roads.

Jane Graves, association president, said she encourages the entire community to take a look at the proposal and sign the petition.

"This could have monumental impact on Dawson County, not just the people that live nearby," she said. "This property sits about a mile from the North Georgia Premium Outlets, the county's major revenue generator, and the Ga. 400 business community."

Curren, an agent with Waterscapes Services LLC, is working with the state Environmental Protection Division to amend a sludge management plan that would allow land application of partially treated waste from Hampton Creek Water Reclamation Facility in nearby Forsyth County.

Curren met with neighboring property owners last month to discuss his plans, which call for applying 50 dry tons of Class B biosolids annually on the 160-acre tract that was initially zoned for a residential subdivision.

Due to the economic downturn, the property owned by Rotag LLC, in which Curren is also a registered agent, was never developed.

Citing "beneficial reuse," Curren has said land application is a viable alternative to sludge disposal and the local site is the closest applicable property for the application.

There would also be a savings to haul the sludge, which currently is taken about 40 miles away to a landfill, compared to the four-mile hauling cost to the proposed site.

Graves called Curren's proposal a "wake-up call" to counties such as Dawson.

"More densely populated counties will be looking for somewhere else to dump," Graves said. "It's cheaper to dump than to bury or compost."

Last week, Graves took her concerns and the petition to county commissioners, who are planning to hold an informative public meeting following the board's 6 p.m. Aug. 16 meeting to gauge community input.

The county has also set up a page on its Web site to offer a central location for residents to collect data on the proposal.

"We will be involved because they made this application in our county," said Commission Chair Mike Berg. "We want to make sure the citizens know what we know and what we are doing, and we want to make sure they have accurate information."


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