Commission authorizes amendment to plan concerning sewage sludge

PERRY COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Pine Belt Regional Solid Waste Management Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday morning to authorize a change in the operating plan that would allow sewage sludge to be taken in as acceptable waste.

The facility operates under a permit issued by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality that specifically addresses the waste that may be taken in.

The action to amend the plan to allow sewer sludge was taken at the request of the City of Hattiesburg who wants to use the facility to dispose of more than 90 tons of dry sewage from one of its lagoons.

Though the change to allow the sewage sludge was authorized, it is contingent on any requirements the DEQ may place on that type of waste.

One concern the commission had was would the smell from the sewage that has been a problem in Hattiesburg for some time now become a problem around the facility"

"We control that by our operational methods," said Ken Smith, Executive Director, Pine Belt Solid Waste Authority. "At this time we don't see that as a major concern because there's a lot of things that go into exposing this waste to the air and sunlight that eliminates a lot of that smell."

Smith says the environment impact would also be minimal.

"Sewage sludge is not a hazardous waste, and is allowed to go into sub title d landfill, "said Smith. "So the environmental issue is not an issue."

Laurel and Petal also have lagoons and are members of the authority. Smith said sooner or later those lagoons will need to be cleaned out and the sewage be disposed off. He said they are preparing for that contingency now.

According to Smith the Perry County facility is not the only location Hattiesburg is looking at to dispose of the sludge. Other locations are in Hancock and Kemper Counties.

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