A public meeting next week in neighboring Forsyth County could draw some interest from those living near 65 acres in southeastern Dawson County where a developer wants to deposit sludge from a wastewater treatment plant.
Waterscape Utility LLC filed notice last month to hold the meeting at 10 a.m. July 16 in the Hampton Village Golf clubhouse, 6310 Hampton Golf Club Drive.
According to the legal notice, Waterscape Services is considering spreading stabilized sewage sludge from the Hampton Creek plant on property owned by Rotag Partners LLC at Harry Sosebee Road and Hwy. 9.
Calls to Ken Curren, who is listed as registered agent for Waterscape and Rotag, had not been returned as of Tuesday afternoon.
It could not be immediately determined if Waterscape has applied for a permit for the proposal from the state Environmental Protection Division.
Rick and Sandy Kritikos, whose home sits on about 20 acres of family farm land on nearby Black's Mill Road, sought some answers at a recent county commission meeting.
"Obviously, we don't want to have sewage sludge dumped near our house. We knew we had to do something," Sandy Kritikos said.
District 1 Commissioner Gary Pichon said he's against placing sewage sludge on open ground that hasn't been treated through a treatment facility as compost.
"If I had the power to say no to this, I wouldn't stumble for even a second. I'd say no," he said. "We don't want sludge application here.
"The risks to our water supply and noxiousness of possible odors are not worth it to me. I think it's wrong we don't have the authority to regulate those things."
Etowah Water and Sewer Authority General Manager Brooke Anderson told commissioners during a recent meeting that he would caution against sludge applications.
"[The authority] used to deposit our sludge in a landfill," he said. "We recently changed to a compost facility in Gainesville, where it's mixed with wood products and turned into fertilizer.
"There are alternatives for sludge from the Hampton facility."
The commission agreed to send a letter to EPD voicing its concerns.
"The only thing we, the county can do is, as I understand it, is opine about this. It's really going to be up to the EPD," Pichon said.
"If the EPD gives the permit, then what we can do is charge him a fee that's commiserate with our monitoring costs so we can monitor his sludge application to ensure his sludge is not running into the creeks and other problems."