MWA reports permit violations at Rocky Creek Water Reclamation Facility

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Macon Water Authority is experiencing permit violations at its Rocky Creek Water Reclamation Facility.

That’s according to an MWA release Monday afternoon, which said the violations are “due to the treatment plant not operating at optimal efficiency and because of abnormally high loadings of regulated discharges within the wastewater coming from nearby Graphic Packaging International” which have “upset the facility’s biological treatment processes.”

The release said GPI, MWA’s largest sewer customer, attributes problems with pretreatment at its Macon Mill to “operational and mechanical issues, compounded by a major weather event earlier in the year.”

The release said MWA will be required to report the plant’s permit violations as a major spill, but there are “no indications of danger to public health.”

“However, the current quality of Rocky Creek’s effluent is sub-standard,” the release said. “At present, the Total Suspended Solids (TSS) and Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) discharges at the Plant have exceeded their permitted limits. According to Authority officials, when biological treatment processes at a water reclamation facility are upset, it takes time for them to return to normal operational conditions.”

MWA says test results upstream and downstream from the point where the plant’s treated wastewater discharges into the water body show no adverse changes in water quality that would cause concern for public health or the river’s ecosystem.

MWA says it is investing about $26 million into upgrades at the plant, which has received either a Gold or Platinum Award from the Georgia Association of Water Professionals every year from 2000-2019.