3 midstate companies pay environmental fines

mstucka@macon.comApril 30, 2014 

A kaolin plant in Washington County spilled tens of thousands of gallons of a muddy mixture into a creek. A power plant in Lamar County spewed excess pollution into the air. And a Monroe County tire shop unloaded hundreds of tires on an unauthorized operation, which burned more than 100 tires.

Those claims are among the recent settlements made with the state’s Environmental Protection Division, which levied fines in each of those cases.

In Washington County, the Environmental Protection Division accused Imerys Clay Inc. of several spills. In one spill two years ago, about 30,000 gallons of a kaolin slurry flowed into a creek after a pipeline leaked. A road crew hit a pipeline in September 2013, spilling about 6,000 gallons. Testing also showed Imerys released effluent with pHs as low as 3 and as high as 11.1, well outside the permitted range of 6 to 9. Imerys agreed to pay $20,000 to the state without admitting any violations of law. The company also has to assess its pipeline and treatment operations in Sandersville and make any recommended improvements.

In a different action, the Environmental Protection Division said One Stop Tire & Automotive Repair of Monroe County improperly took about 270 scrap tires to another outfit on Garr Road in Jackson, where about 125 of the tires were burned.

The company also improperly stored too many tires at its shop and didn’t submit fees and reports for a about a year. The Forsyth shop agreed to a $2,000 fine without admitting it broke any law.

Separately, Piedmont Green Power in Lamar County agreed to a fine after the company said air leaked into a system, burning more ash and damaging filters.

A pollution monitor didn’t work most of the time. One company test showed the plant was pushing out 80 percent more particulate pollution than its permit allowed, and another test was 32 percent higher than allowed.

The Barnesville plant agreed to a $14,719 fine but did not admit it violated any rules.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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