State EPD Levels Fine on Walker County

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Harrison Pirtle
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Updated: 10/10/2013 6:35 pm
WALKER COUNTY, GA. (WDEF) -- Walker county leaders say they have learned a lesson the hard way----don't move dirt to make an R-V park unless you tell the Georgia Environmental Protection Division first.
The county will pay a 10-thousand dollar fine, but it will end up and a new recreation area .

Walker county is one of the most beautiful areas of Georgia.
Many residents and visitors like to just drive around and enjoy the view.
But when it comes to finding a place to eat, or to stage a battlefield re-enactment in the area called Mountain Cove, there wasn't much to offer.
County leaders decided to quickly build an R-V park and start a restaurant in Mountain Cove for the visitors.
That created a problem with the state environmental protection division who came to have a look.

BEBE HEISKELL, COUNTY COMMISSIONER "They got us for not contacting that they could be in charge of the project. And, under normal circumstances, if it had been thought through, we probably would have done so..but we were really pushed for time."

Part of the 9 acre site in Mountain Cove was leveled and silk fencing was put up,according to state EPD rules.
And it was packed with R-V's every day of the re-enactment.
But the EPD ended up fining Walker County 10-thousand dollars.

BEBE HELSKELL "Somebody called me and said what are going to do about paying it? And I said I'm going to pay it...and they said how and I said out of the Walker county general fund, but I'm hoping it will make enough money off of the R-V park to cover that cost."

County EMS director David Ashburn managed the Mountain Cove project.
He says the work was done to specifications.

DAVID ASHBURN, EMS DIRECTOR "The county representative, who does the inspections on all projects ...soil erosion,sedimentation and storm water...was involved in this from the start...he was inspecting it every week."

Lesson learned! Cross the t's and dot the I's---and stay in touch when dealing with the state environmental people.

The state originally set the fine at 15-thousand dollars, but agreed to forgive 5-thousand if Walker county will sponsor 10 people to be trained as environmental inspectors.
Commissioner Heiskell says that's being done now.

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