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Water woes continue at Rivian site

MORGAN COUNTY – Complaints from Rutledge residents living near the recently excavated site for the Rivian plant, has caused a Morgan County Commissioner to personally investigate the contaminated water concerns.

According to a published story in the Morgan County Citizen, Commissioner Blake McCormack is asking any Rutledge residents living near the 2,000-acre Rivian site with wells experiencing discolored water and other signs of contamination to come forward as he prepares a map documenting each complaint.

McCormack said he was aware of at least five Rutledge residents within a two-mile radius of the site complaining of contaminated water.

Morgan County Planner Chuck Jarrell has also contacted the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to inquire about the matter.

“I wanted to find out if there are any correlations between the new well complaints and the Rivian site,” Jarrell said. “I understand the concert, it’s all in the same basin.”

A spokesman for the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties is skeptical about the water complaints having anything to do with the graded site.

“Our expert reports contradict these allegations,” said Ben Sheilder, on behalf of the JDA. “They have not produced any expert report, only the opinions of those who oppose the project and would stop at nothing to discredit it.

One of the Morgan County wells comes from the Rescue Ranch in Rutledge, a non-profit that rescues Boston Terriers and other dogs, owned by Renee Usery and Courtney Bryson. Usery said ever since grading began at the Rivian site, they have had to change their well filter almost every time there is a heavy rain. She also said the filters were so compacted with mud and silt that they had trouble removing them to put replacement ones in.