Fort Valley settles environmental complaint for $5,000

mstucka@macon.comApril 30, 2014 

Fort Valley’s government has agreed to pay $5,000 to settle claims it burned tires and other waste, improperly handled construction debris and cleared about 15 acres without state permission.

The agreement was finalized April 4, after Fort Valley had already taken some steps to stop what it was doing.

“We cleaned up our act, and everything’s fine now,” Fort Valley Public Works Director Larry Brown said Wednesday.

The Peach County city faced some similar complaints four years ago, when the Georgia Environmental Protection Division reported the city had been burning inert waste, such as tree limbs. The city said it solved the 2010 problem by taking tree limbs and leaves to a Macon County facility that turned the debris into wood pellets.

Brown said at times the pellet factory quit taking such yard waste from the city. The city started burning the yard waste again.

In January, an Environmental Protection Division inspector found leaves and limbs had been burned at a site off Murray Road behind the cemetery. The investigator also found that a structure and concrete had been dumped, and the city had disturbed at least 15 acres without getting a construction permit or putting up erosion controls. The city had also been collecting scrap tires without a permit.

Within two weeks the city began seeking the scrap tire permit.

Under the terms of the consent order, Fort Valley agreed to clear the construction debris and the concrete, as well as the burned waste and scrap tires. The city also agreed to create an erosion plan for the site, as well as to report on what it’s changing “to ensure that future solid waste, water quality and air quality violations of this nature do not occur.”

Under the consent agreement, the city does not admit to any violation of state laws.

Environmental Protection Division officials said the city responded quickly to the problems. The state will verify that all the required changes have been made.

“As far as we know, they’re on track,” District Manager Todd Bethune said Wednesday.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service