The draft permit for King America Finishing would allow the company to continue discharging its treated wastewater into the river but would require continuous monitoring of effluent pH levels, with an alarm system to alert operators to problems. Continuous monitoring of oxygen levels in the water also would be required.
The new permit would require advance notice to environmental regulators whenever expansions, production increases or process modifications are contemplated, and specifies that the release of waste into the river must be reduced during dry weather, when low flows could hinder the safe assimilation of wastewater.
Last fall, in a consent order negotiated with EPD, the company did not directly acknowledge responsibility for the fish kill but agreed to finance $1 million in environmental improvements to resolve violations discovered by regulators investigating the incident.
One finding showed the company had added a fire-retardant treatment process that generated wastewater, which was ultimately discharged to the Ogeechee River in violation of its permit.
The 7 p.m. public hearing at Effingham County High School in Springfield, Ga., will allow the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to present and receive comments on the draft permit.