September 9, 2008
Jefferson County Georgia is a contiguous county to Augusta-Richmond County, Ga and Columbia County, Ga. which have lots of old industry and are rapidly growing. Jefferson County, in contrast is a very poor and economically depressed county with many uninformed people. Our county is 3rd from the bottom economically in the state of Ga.
In the mid 90's a very powerful and connected state senator from Augusta bought lands in Jefferson County for Augusta's sludge. Same timeframe as the McElmurry's sludging and from the same Messerly Waste Treatment plant that Ga EPD had already suggested shutting down. More land bought by Senator in late 90's and a group of us tried to stop permitting; 1000's of signatures on petition, and lots of research including testimonies by Dr. David Lewis, Ed Hallman, and their expert witnesses.
We as Friends of the Ogeechee fought with others Some with GA EPD suggested not to permit this site as we had shown we were over a very large aquifer recharge area, lots of karst topography, many endangered species, and in the middle of the Mennonite farm Community of their lands, churches, and schools. Literally! They would not help us fight the issue, (against their religion) but said they would pray for us. The list goes on. We got the sludge and there are other sites that were never permitted. You want to talk of "environmental racism"!
You would not believe the cases of staph. This stuff has all the heavy metals and pathogens that went to the McElmurry and Boyce farms. The Senator has is own transporter / sludgeman and grows hay for Ga Hwy projects. Title to land now in his name. Then in early 2003 Columbia county decides to sludge some the SAME lands with their sludge Again inadequate site studies and slam dunk permitting We had lost another battle to the good ole boys.
These sites are right across river from ea other with very steep slopes of 60+ feet drop elv. This is not right! What about CWA , RCRA, and 503 states that you cannot put more sludge out in land if you cannot account for loadings. Augusta couldn't then with the MCElmurry case and they can't now. Remember. Same sludge as McElMurry timeframe and from same large Messerly plant.
How can this continue to happen. I can go on and on with what has transpired (docs and testimonies) Do the right thing and rescind Augusta's and Columbia Co permits to sludge us in Jefferson Co. Use as material for cogeneration and energy. Sludging our land, rivers, and drinking water is the easy way out for major growth areas to get rid of their problem. It is not the right thing to do and will ultimately affect many I ask this committee along with others to urge Congress to stop the land application of sludge.
Geary Davis, a very concerned, Jefferson County, GA citizen