Franklin County Taking Steps to Monitor Biofuel Plant Emissions

The Franklin County Board Commissioners is taking their won measures to ensure Georgia Renewable Power is complying with Federal and State environmental guidelines.

On Tuesday, the Board heard from County Manager Beth Thomas on the County’s efforts to continuing monitoring the GRP plant to ensure its compliance with Federal, State and local environmental laws.

Thomas recommended hiring an outside firm, Geo Hydro Engineers out of Kennessaw to do an air and noise analysis in the area surrounding the plant, and gave the Board the option to pay for extended monitoring.

“They’re a competent firm to handle the air and noise study,” Thomas said. “The total cost to do the air testing and the limited noise study is $16,625. An additional noise study, should it be needed where it lasts for a period of a week would be another $10,000.”

Thomas explained the testing would be a one-day snapshot of air and noise quality, but if the County wants a longer period of testing, that would be the extra cost of $10,000 for seven days of continuous monitoring.

According to their web site, Geo-Hydro provides environmental consulting services, geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, and special inspection and has five offices located in both Georgia and North Carolina.

Thomas said however, the abundance of rain has hampered plans to get their inspectors out to the Double Churches area.

“They need two to three days of really good weather to do the air testing,” she explained. “Every time we get ready to schedule it, the rain comes in. We have it tentatively scheduled for next week pending the weather. We will get this done just as soon as they can come out and a qualified, good quality test.”

Commission Chair Thomas Bridges said the County needs sound data independent of the EPD to present to the court in their noise quality case against GRP.

The Commission also approved the purchase of new air quality monitoring equipment.

Commissioner Macomson said the County Commissioners have gone out personally to monitor the noise, but they haven’t been able to adequately monitor air quality.

He then suggested the County purchase its own portable monitoring equipment.

“This monitor will measure particulate matter, which is ash thrown off by the plant at the 2.5 and 10 level, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and volatile organic compounds. We can ride around weekly and take readings at different locations and see what kind of data we get,” Macomson explained. “And if we observe that there’s a problem we will turn that hard data over to the EPD. This is beyond the monitoring we’re talking about for the notice of violation.”

Macomson noted the equipment could be used to continue to monitor the air quality in the Double Churches area for the foreseeable future.

Macomson said the cost of the portable air quality monitor is $2,300, and the purchase was approved unanimously by the Board.