Georgia plant spills 100 million gallons of partly treated water

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A wastewater plant in middle Georgia’s largest city spilled partially treated water into the Ocmulgee River after a series of equipment failures in December.

WMAZ-TV reports that the Macon Water Authority’s treatment plant released more than 100 million gallons (378 million liters) of partially treated water into the river.

The water authority said that it struggled with freezing weather and equipment failures at the Graphic Packaging International paper mill. The mill is one of the authority’s largest sources of wastewater.

Wastewater from the paper mill overloaded the treatment plant, said interim Water Authority Director Ron Shipman, with the plant emitting water with suspended solids as much as 10 times above permitted levels.

Shipman said the spill didn’t environmentally harm the river.

“We’re not talking anything that wasn’t treated. We’re talking product or effluent that was treated. It just wasn’t treated to the standard we’re accustomed to,” Shipman said.

Shipman said water treatment has returned to normal.

Two years ago, the water authority said a series of spills lasted nearly three months, and released more than a half-billion gallons of wastewater into the river. The authority blamed excess solids released by Graphic Packaging.

The paper mill did not respond to a request for comment.




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