Emergency Restraining Order Sought By Attorney General and EPD Director Granted by Superior Court
Order Forces Waste Processing Facility In Jackson County That Caught Fire
This Week To Stop Accepting Any Additional Waste Material
In Jackson County Superior Court late this afternoon, Attorney General Baker and Environmental Protection Division Director Carol Couch sought a restraining order against Agri-Cycle, LLC and Richard Harville, Managing Partner of Agri-Cycle, to prevent their continued operation of Agri-Cycle's waste processing facility in Talmo, Georgia. Agri-Cycle fought the restraining order during a two and a half hour hearing in front of Superior Court Judge David Motes of the Piedmont Judicial Circuit.
At the conclusion of the contested hearing, Judge Motes rejected Agri-Cycle's arguments and sided with the Attorney General and EPD in ruling that Agri-Cycle's waste processing plant in Talmo should be forced to stop accepting new waste material immediately. The restraining order, signed at 6:30 this evening by Judge Motes at the conclusion of the hearing, prevents Agri-Cycle from receiving any additional waste at their facility for thirty days or until Agri-Cycle can demonstrate that the facility is in compliance with the law and poses no threat to the public health. In addition, Judge Motes has scheduled a hearing for October 2 to consider whether a lengthier injunction sought by Attorney General Baker and Director Couch should be granted.
According to the verified complaint, the state's Environmental Protection Division has inspected the facility on at least seven occasions from 2005 through 2007. Those investigations were initiated following complaints by local residents of odors and flies related to the facility's operation. On August 21, 2007, the Environmental Protection Division issued an Administrative Order requiring Agri-Cycle to stop accepting waste for treatment at the facility. EPD also ordered Agri-Cycle to submit within thirty days a plan for closing down the waste treatment facility. On August 30, 2007, Agri-Cycle appealed that order to the Office of State Administrative Hearings. Agri-Cycle's administrative appeal automatically allowed Agri-Cycle to remain open until such time as its appeal could be heard.
Today's request for the Temporary Restraining Order, or TRO, was sought after waste material in Agri-Cycle's treatment ponds caught fire on September 5, 2007 and burned throughout the night into the next day. According to the verified complaint, one of the ponds that was burning contained water which should have been sufficiently treated so that the water in it would be ready for spraying on the fields that Agri-Cycle used in its land application treatment system. Instead, the pond containing the "finished" water contained enough waste material to catch fire.
Attorney General Baker and Senior Assistant Attorney General John Hennelly, head of the Attorney General's Environmental Section, are representing EPD and Director Couch in this matter.