Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 10, 2013

City received help from EPD to keep EPA away

Now EPA is back with more questions

VALDOSTA — In October 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 requested a long list of documents from the City of Valdosta regarding the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Mud Creek Treatment Plant, to which the city responded in November 2012.

The information in the graph on page 4A in today’s edition of The Times is part of the several volumes of information the city had to compile in order to comply with the EPA’s request, which also had to include certification that the information was complete and correct under penalty of law.

The EPA, according to spokesperson Dawn Harris-Young, has not issued any rulings or orders from the request, and it is still under review.

In 2010, the city received a proposed consent order from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division which was never executed.

If the proposed consent order had been executed, the city would have had to pay $276,670 for the violations committed, and follow a series of specified requirements to ensure that there were no further violations.

City officials stated in February 2013 that the order was set aside as it would have nullified their ability to gain funding from FEMA.

Through an open records request, The Times found a series of emails between City Manager Larry Hanson, Deputy City Manager John Whitehead and Cliff Lewis, the acting assistant branch chief for the Suwanee River Basin for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

In the emails, Hanson requests guidance from Lewis regarding the consent order, contesting that the city had been told by EPD officials that the plants would not be included in any action taken and the orders should be for I & I — inflow and infiltration — as it would cause a higher fine due to the additional gallons that would have to be considered.

In the emails, Hanson also reiterates that the city is prepared to receive an order and to follow whatever recommendations and guidelines the EPD requests.

Following the exchange of emails over several months, one in July 2010 from Lewis to Hanson states that as soon as the state EPD learned that the federal EPA “was targeting the city,” he was instructed to do two things: “A comprehensive that would pass the ‘sniff’ test EPD has to pass with EPA regarding the orders we issue and; An order from the state that would back EPA off of its federal targeting of Valdosta, in a well intentioned move to help the city avoid federal penalties that will be more harsh than the state’s.”

Lewis goes on to write that he is going “outside of the typical process of consent order issuance and come up with an order that the city can live with because I have a genuine interest in the injection of common sense, reasonableness, and defensibility in the actions taken by EPD, as well as a desire to see tax dollars sensibly applied to projects that have tangible results for local communities.”

Text Only
Local News
  • 140417-Rail_Plan-001.jpg State Transportation seeks public input on rail plan

    The Georgia Department of Transportation held public meetings across the state this week to discuss its 2014 Georgia State Rail Plan.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-valdosta_appr#10C8BA.jpg Officials serve lunch to city employees

    The City of Valdosta hosted its annual employee appreciation luncheon Thursday at John W. Saunders Memorial Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-Wiregrass003.jpg Wiregrass learns through play

    For three years, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has hosted its Wired Up! event to engage students, faculty and staff in a fun but educational activity day.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • rain.jpg More spills? Valdosta braces for more rain

    In the past four weeks, Valdosta has experienced four major rain events that dumped more than three to four inches of rain on the area per incident.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140117-Scott_SGMAC-001.jpg Moody in running for Afghan pilot mission

    Moody Air Force Base is one of three military bases being considered for a temporary mission to train Afghan pilots next year, Rep. Austin Scott told the South Georgia Military Affairs Council Thursday.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • City: Most overflows stopped

    The City of Valdosta reported Wednesday evening that all manhole overflows resulting from Tuesday’s heavy rains had stopped, with the exception of two.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416-gov_deal002.jpg Signed into law

    Gov. Nathan Deal went on a signing tour Wednesday across Georgia, flying into the Valdosta Regional Airport to sign three bills into law.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 2 charged in N.C. kidnapping

    Two more people were charged in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father, bringing the number to at least eight people who authorities say were involved in the elaborate plot.

    April 17, 2014

  • VSU opens spring senior art show Saturday

    Several graduating art seniors will present their show this weekend at Valdosta State University.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140415-water003.jpg Sewage problems persist

    Early Tuesday morning, Valdosta became saturated when the area received approximately three inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 manholes throughout the City of Valdosta have spilled 286,500 gallons of wastewater into local waterways, and this number will continue to rise.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

Top News

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results