Rockdale Water Resources has recently closed out the final of five consent orders that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division issued for violations starting several years ago.
In November 2006, RWR had four active, long-term consent orders from Ga. EPD. The orders had all been issued prior to July 1, 2005 and dated back as early as October 31, 2001. As of March 15, one of these four orders was still active.
RWR Director Dwight Wicks in 2006 initiated the commitment to obtain 100 percent environmental compliance with EPD permit requirements and has now attained its original program objective.
"This is a huge milestone for our RWR department and it reflects the leadership of Mr. Dwight Wicks," Commission Chairman Richard Oden said. "With accomplishments such as this, RWR continues to build a strong, lasting legacy that ultimately benefits all of our residents."
A consent order is an administrative order that the Ga. EPD issues requiring specific corrective action be taken to address a state-issued permit violation or other environmental non-compliance condition. Corrective actions might include a monetary fine, a new procedure or process is established, process equipment and infrastructure are possibly updated, or environmentally-related assets are purchased.
Ga. EPD resolves consent orders in two ways. Violations that are primarily related to sanitary sewer spills or system overflows are usually addressed through an Expedited Agreement with EPD if the violation is not classified as a major event. Expedited Enforcement Orders are usually assessed a financial penalty and resolved upon payment.
Violations may also be addressed through remedial requirements the EPD identifies that the utility must satisfy or obtain compliance with before the order is lifted. These requirements usually require a longer time span for resolution.
Since July 1, 2005, RWR has been issued additional consent orders and all but two - including the outstanding order from 2005 - had been resolved. On February 2 and August 14, Ga. EPD Director Judson H. Turner informed RWR staff that the last two outstanding consent orders had been satisfied. Now, there will be for the first time since 2001, no outstanding Ga. EPD consent orders for RWR.
"Emphasis now will be placed on preventive maintenance procedures and programs to maintain compliance and reduce, and possibly eventually eliminate sanitary spills and overflow events," Wicks said.