Originally created 02/12/02

EPD fans out with local office



Al Frazier views his partially filled building on Tobacco Road as 9,300 square feet of potential.

"We have 13 people now," he said. "Eventually, we'll have 32."

The building is the newest district headquarters for Georgia's Environmental Protection Division - the state agency responsible for air quality, industrial emissions and other environmental compliance matters.

"This is the result of a decentralization process that began five years ago," said Mr. Frazier, who moved to Augusta from EPD's coastal office to become the 17-county district's manager.

EPD, with 920 employees, is the smallest state environmental enforcement agency in the Southeast, he said. Regional offices will help EPD accomplish more without taxing resources based in Atlanta, according to Mr. Frazier.

The new office - and others planned in Columbus and Cartersville - will handle many functions previously based in Atlanta, including drinking water issues, landfill inspections, mining and emergency response.

Only a few technical functions currently are performed at the office, at 1885 Tobacco Road. Mr. Frazier expects to have the office fully staffed in 12 to 18 months.

One function involves testing fish, animal and plant tissue for radioactive tritium.

"We're also interested in doing a lot more with outreach and education," he said. "We intend to become a lot more involved with environmental groups, schools, community associations - people interested in the environment."

EPD will investigate any complaints from the new office, Mr. Frazier said. The office number is 792-7744.

Reach Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 119, or rpavey@augustachronicle.com.