Gov. Nathan Deal will be in Dawsonville this morning to sign into law a bill that will place tougher regulations on sludge application.
The governor is scheduled to be at the Dawson County Government Center at 10:45 a.m. The public is invited to the event.
House Bill 741 stems from an issue Dawson County faced a few years ago when a developer petitioned to dump partially treated waste on property near the North Georgia Premium Outlets.
State Rep. Kevin Tanner authored the bill, which passed 161-1 in the House and 52-2 in the Senate.
"This is especially important for the Dawson County community," Tanner said. "This issue originated when I was county manager, and I've worked on it since then to give local communities a local voice in regards to sludge application."
Passage of the bill will give local governments and their residents a say in where sludge can be placed in their communities. It would also require any public hearings on matters of sludge application to be held in the county where land is located, contrary to current law that does not regulate such a criteria.
The debate over sludge application started nearly two years ago when developer Ken Curren filed an application with the state Environmental Protection Division to amend the Hampton Creek Water Reclamation Facility sludge management plan.
According to the application, Curren wanted to spread partially treated liquid waste from the Forsyth County plant on about 65 acres at Lumpkin Campground and Harry Sosebee roads in Dawson County.
The site is about one mile away from the busy Ga. 400 corridor, which includes the North Georgia Premium Outlets, the county's largest source of sales tax revenue.
Etowah Water and Sewer Authority has since entered into a contract to treat the sludge for waste from the plant.
EPD identifies Class B sewage as bio-solids that have been treated but still contain detectible levels of pathogens.