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Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 11:43am

Storm Water Runoff Rules Changing

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division is set to enforce better water quality at nearly 3,000 industrial facilities across the state. New rules could take effect in the spring.

The rules apply to companies that use chemicals or substances that can wash into waterways when it rains. Such sites include garbage landfills, auto salvage yards and chicken plants.

Jason Ulseth with the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper helped draft the new rules. He says right now facilities, like chicken processing plants, are only asked to try to meet environmental benchmarks. Under the new plan, they would be required to.

“They have chicken trucks that come in and out and all the chicken litter gets dropped onto the parking lot, or onto a cage, or onto a truck and it’s exposed to storm water. So, when it rains it washes all that chicken litter into a nearby stream and it pollutes it with fecal coliform bacteria and nutrients.”

Poultry industry officials say the rules give them three years to make changes at their facilities.