BOC pond-ers local EPD violators
By Patrick Yost
If you have built a pond in Morgan County without proper licensing, take notice.
The Morgan County Board of Commissioners Tuesday heard a report from Frank Carubba, environmental engineer, Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD), that outlined how ponds could be constructed legally under EPD guidelines and, importantly for commissioners, what steps could be taken against property owners who violate state and federal procedures.
Board Chairwoman Ellen Warren said there was a case in Morgan County wherein a property owner had constructed five ponds but obtained only a single permit. Warren said the board attempted to cite the property owner and demand corrective action, but had been stymied by the Georgia EPD.
Morgan County Senior Planner Tara Cooner told Carubba and the board that when she alerted the EPD of the possible pond violation “…their wording was they choose not to pursue it.”
“It is fairly egregious,” Warren said.
“If we're going to have our legs chopped out from under us, why bother,” she told Carubba.
Carubba pledged EPD cooperation regarding policing pond construction and outlined for the board that if it was determined the landowner had constructed the pond without EPD and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) permits, the landowner would be forced to "remove the dam and restore the stream at great cost to the landowner," Carubba said.
Carubba said the county could demand a consent order to have the pond, or ponds in one particular case, removed. "If we choose to purse that (a consent order) would be supported?" Warren asked Carubba. "Because I feel like in the past we have not been supported."
"This scenario sounds pretty black and white," Carubba said.
"The correct thing is to remove those ponds."
Morgan County Building Inspector Chuck Jarrell said the county had also attempted to get the federal government to intercede on non–permitted pond construction without aid. "We where hopeful we would have backup on the federal level. Frankly, I'm disappointed."
Printed in the September 6, 2012 edition.