Due to requests from Greenlaw in Atlanta and Save Our Suwannee in Florida,
WWALS Watershed Coalition asked the City of Valdosta for a presentation
on their wastewater situation.
Valdosta presented less than two weeks later, and brought their entire
hierarchy related to this issue, from the mayor on down.
Plus Lowndes County, which isn’t even responsible for Valdosta’s wastewater,
was represented by their Chairman and a Commissioner.
Not all questions could be answered that quickly, but many were.
The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part
of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year
been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would
normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland
Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns
the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the
potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving
one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate—which can
also be used in bomb making—unaware of any danger there.
Fertilizer plants and depots must report to the DHS when they hold
400 lb (180 kg) or more of the substance. Filings this year with the
Texas Department of State Health Services, which weren’t shared with
DHS, show the plant had 270 tons of it on hand last year.
A video of
a hearing about the biomass plant Wiregrass Power LLC proposes
to build in Lowndes County just outside of Valdosta was held
in Valdosta on 27 April 2010
by the Air Protection Branch (APD)
of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Georgia
Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Eric Cornwell of APD explains location,
process flow, and specific items
covered by the permit (soot, SO2, NOX, CO, VOC, HCL, etc., but not
He remarks that Wiregrass Power LLC is building a small plant with a
“lower emission limit in order to avoid some of the red tape”
by getting a minor permit instead of a major permit.
The first half hour concludes with Bob Turner, the plant manager,
presenting similar material, ending with:
“No new carbon is added to the atmosphere when burning woody byproducts.”