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Pratt RWR agreement approved

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

CONYERS -- Officials with Pratt Industries and Rockdale Water Resources described the recent payments from the company to cover operational costs and fines is the latest in a history of partnership between the two.

The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners approved Tuesday the two memorandums of understanding with Pratt paying a total of $158,037 to RWR.

Rockdale Water Resources Director Dwight Wicks said the larger of the two agreements, $134,697, was paid to cover expenses of operating the Quigg Branch waste water treatment plant last spring when the facility's Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket stopped working.

RWR incurred added expense in treating the higher levels of industrial waste that do not receive pretreatment from the UASB and Pratt's payment was covering those costs, Wicks said.

The UASB digester was out of service for 26 days starting in February 2010 while RWR replaced the unit's bio-solids media used to treat waste from Pratt's Visy Mill.

The UASB serves only Pratt's Visy Paper Mill on Sarasota Business Parkway in Conyers and has done so since the plant opened in 1995. Conyers also serves as Pratt's U.S. headquarters. Along with the Visy Plant, sister mills in New York City and Shreveport, La., recycle over 100 million tons of paper to produce paper and cardboard packaging.

In the second agreement, Pratt agreed to pay $23,340, half of the total fine assessed against the county by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division for the discharge.

Quigg was able to process the industrial waste water for about two weeks but then became overloaded. Eventually, higher-than-allowed oxygen and ammonium nitrate levels were discharged into the Yellow River.

Wicks said the other half was paid last year by ESG Operations Inc., the firm contracted to manage the county's sewage treatment operations.

Georgia EPD officials were notified during repairs last year to the UASB digester, according to a statement released Wednesday from the Rockdale County Public Affairs office.

The statement also announced Wednesday Pratt agreed to voluntarily fund needed capital facilities rehabilitation projects for the UASB digester totaling $37,805 as an additional preventive measure.