Georgia EPD Pursues Civil Penalty for Jones County Sewage Spill

March 27, 2002

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is asking the State Office of Administrative Hearings to assess a civil penalty for a raw sewage spill in Jones County, Georgia, more than one year ago.

"We have tried repeatedly over the past year to resolve this issue with Jones County officials," said EPD Director Harold Reheis. "Their lack of response has forced us to proceed with formal action to assess a penalty."

EPD investigators have determined the spill occurred on or about Jan. 26, 2001. The unpermitted discharge spilled into an unnamed tributary to Town Branch, which flows into the Town Creek Reservoir. The reservoir serves as a water supply for the Macon Water Authority.

Jones County officials have disagreed with EPD over the amount and duration of the spill and have refused to accept a proposed settlement.

The initial proposed settlement was sent to the Jones County Board of Commissioners on May 4, 2001. It proposed the following requirements.

1. A monetary settlement of $8,000.

2. A comprehensive evaluation of Jones County's lift stations in the River North Subdivision and schedules for implementing recommendations from the evaluation.

3. Submit the results of a stream monitoring program, which includes sampling of the water where the Jan. 26, 2001 spill occurred.

Under state law, the hearing judge can assess a penalty of up to $50,000 for the sewage spill.

Source: Georgia Environmental Protection Division