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Ice storm leads to illegal spill

By Justin Boron

The Clayton County Water Authority will likely have to pay a fine up to $50,000 for an illegal spill of more than 8 million gallons into the Flint River, environmental officials said.

The un-permitted discharge of treated water occurred at a pumping station on Fayetteville Road because one of the two backup generators failed to start during this weekend's power outages, said Jeff Larson, the manager for a permitting and compliance program in the state's Environmental Protection Division.

The fact that the discharge was treated water may lower the fine, he said.

The water authority leased the generators from Cummins South, an equipment supplier based in Atlanta, said Wade Brannan, the water authority's director.

Cummins South was given the opportunity to comment for this story but did not return phone calls as of press time.

Brannan emphasized that no mismanagement by Cummins South had been discovered.

The water authority also said the spill posed no imminent health risks.

Larson said EPD inspectors will investigate the cause of the generator's failure within the next two days.

The full evaluation should be prepared in the next 30 days, he said.

Depending on the results, EPD officials can fine and order immediate corrective action.