Monday, March 12, 2012

[8] Article: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/10/12

LINK: City wants more time
 ExcerptLocal environmental activist Robert Schreiber says he believes Atlanta’s sewer pipes are contaminating local aquifers, and plans to use the public comment period to publicize it.

“That’s a direct violation of underground injection regulations,” said Schreiber, who hopes to raise the issue with federal judge Thomas Thrash, who has overseen the federally mandated improvements.
Follow-up by Robert SchreiberI neither support nor oppose the request for the time extension in the manner that it is being presented to Judge Thomas W. Thrash.
Instead, judge Thrash should first render a legal decision which resolves a conflict that was first presented to the city, its consultants, and its attorneys almost 11 years ago.

The conflict involves a type of permit that protects the aquifer that underlies metro-Atlanta and public health.

The permit is required for the large pipes that are used to send wastewater into hundreds of millions of dollars of tunnel projects that have been built and/or are being designed to achieve compliance with the consent decrees.

All parties to both of Atlanta’s consent decrees and the attorneys who represent them fail to disclose the permit requirement to the public and to Judge Thrash.

However, their position is in conflict with regulations and established law.

The Court of Appeals which is above Judge Thrash has already ruled that permits are required.

If Judge Thrash also rules that the permits are required then the city has legal recourse (a) against the consultants who failed to confirm the applicability of the requirement and (b) against the private attorneys who were hired to provide expert counsel during implementation of the decrees.

It is important to understand the “permit question” has also been presented to Judge William S. Duffey in the DeKalb consent decree and has been presented to others in several cities around the country.

If nothing is done, then the consultants and attorneys who were paid to protect the city’s interests will be long-gone thereby leaving ratepayers saddled with the burden of paying to fix what should have never been allowed to happen.

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