Columbia County will seek state permits to allow sludge from its three wastewater plants to be trucked to Jefferson County, Ga., and land-applied as fertilizer.
The county currently buries about 8,500 tons per year of sludge in its Baker Place landfill, which is filling rapidly and will close soon, said Water and Sewer Director Billy Clayton.
Consequently, the county needs an alternative - and hopes to hire Hudson Grassing Co. to transport and dispose of the sludge, which is a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process.
To proceed, Columbia County must apply for a Sludge Management Program permit from Georgia's Environmental Protection Division, which will require the county to hold a public meeting in Jefferson County.
The current landfill disposal practice costs $32.50 per ton, and Hudson Grassing's proposal would be about $6 less per ton, with Hudson handling the transportation, Clayton said.
"We believe it's both a cost savings and a wise thing to do with these biosolids," he said, adding that the permitting process could take many months.
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