SEWAGE

The Covington News - - Front page -

spilled out of the plant.

Hop­kins said the par­tial­lytreated sewage was piped to the old plant first, which is lo­cated fur­ther down­stream and was left op­er­a­tional for emer­gen­cies like floods. The wa­ter was con­tained in the old plant’s basins, but that area was com­pletely flooded, so the WSA didn’t know how much of the sewage re­mained at the old plant and how much spilled over to the Yel­low River. The wa­ter re­main­ing at the old plant is be­ing pumped back into the newer plant to be treated, Hop­kins said.

He said the new plant, which was built in 2007, is lo­cated above the 150-year flood­plain for the area, which is why most of the plant avoided flood­ing. If the old plant was still the main plant, the flood would have com­pletely shut it down.

“It’s a good thing that our board did that two years ago. If we had been in the old plant, this would have been a catas­tro­phe. We would not have been op­er­at­ing for days and weeks,” Hop­kins said.

Be­cause of the spill, WSA of­fi­cials will be tak­ing wa­ter sam­ples down­stream over the next seven days to de­ter­mine the amount of sewage, but Hop­kins said he hoped the in­creased wa­ter flows would dis­si­pate the con­cen­tra­tion by the time it gets to Jack­son Lake. In ad­di­tion, the WSA no­ti­fied the Ge­or­gia En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Divi­sion of the spill and will place signs up along the Yel­low River once the wa­ter re­cedes.

“The wa­ter will take some time to get to Jack­son and will have a long way to dis­si­pate and di­lute. It sounds like a lot, and it was de­clared a ma­jor spill, but com­pared to what other coun­ties are fac­ing right now, it’s re­ally light.” Hop­kins said.

In ad­di­tion to the sewage, the Yel­low River also con­tains a lot of tree and other de­bris, much of which was been car­ried south from Rock­dale and Gwin­nett coun­ties, where the flood­ing was worse.

As far as other in­fras­truc­tural dam­age, Hop­kins said flow rates had been steady so there are not likely any ma­jor prob­lems, but the county will have to wait for the wa­ter to re­cede be­fore sur­vey­ing the ef­fects.

Land Ap­pli­ca­tion Sys­tem Man­ager David Croom said the city’s sys­tems have not had any prob­lems and County Wa­ter Re­sources Di­rec­tor Karl Kel­ley said the fa­cil­ity’s wa­ter-pro­vid­ing plants at Cor­nish Creek and City Pond have also not been ef­fected.

In fact, Kel­ley said the in­creased flows of Cor­nish Creek and the Al­covy River have been ben­e­fi­cial be­cause they’ve raised the level at Lake Varner. The Cor­nish Creek Wa­ter Plant is run­ning all three pumps from the Al­covy River.

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