MWA, MBCIA respond to Brightmark concerns

Rocky Creek Water Reclamation Facility

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)— Brightmark is moving ahead with plans to bring what they call, the world’s largest plastics recycling and renewal facility to Macon.

Residents like Jill Neimark and Dr. Lindsay Holliday are some of the many residents expressing concerns on the impact it could have on the county’s air and water quality.

Mark Wyzalek is the Director of Environmental Compliance for the Macon Water Authority. He says Brightmark applied for a permit to discharge wastewater to the MWA’s sewer system. He says their process won’t effect the county’s drinking water or the Ocmulgee River.

“We have not only the legal requirement but we have the moral requirement to ensure our waters are protected,” he said.

Stephen Adams, Executive Director for the Macon-Bibb Industrial Authority, says they worked with Brightmark during the site selection process.

According to a report titled “All Talk and No Recycling“, 37 chemical recycling projects have been announced in the last 20 years. It also states, none of the 37 projects can prove they successfully recycle plastic at a commercial scale. When asking Adams about the report that names Brightmark as one of the three operational plastic recycling plants, he says they’re aware of it and will closely monitor other reports like it.

“We are going to rely heavily and trust our state and federal regulatory agencies are completing their activities very thoroughly, so as to protect the safety of our community,” he said.

Brightmark CEO, Bob Powell, says their relationship with the county doesn’t end when the building is completed. He hopes the community can see them as a great citizen in the next 10 to 20 years.

“If you look at our messaging around what we tell people we’re about and who we support,” he said. “I hope that the community would find that and see that there is good intention there.”

Jill Neimark is one of the residents opposing Brightmark. She’s concerned there could be parallels to the water contamination in Juliette. Neimark hopes to prevent something like that from happening before it’s too late.

“Every step that they have to take to purify is more expensive for them and that impacts their profit,” she said. “So they’re not going to curb that unless there’s community outcry.”

Wyzalek says the discharge to the sewer system is treated by the Rocky Creek Water Reclamation Facility. He says residents can ensure their drinking water is safe.

“It does not effect in any sort of way our drinking water supply. Our drinking water supply is well above downtown Macon, and is well above any sort of industrial discharges,” he said.

We did get clarification from the Planning and Zoning Board about the December 13 meeting agenda. Brightmark’s item on the agenda was listed as deferred by staff. They couldn’t tell us exactly why, but said sometimes it’s due to a missing item needed for a hearing. They also said agenda items get deferred on a regular basis.

Categories: Bibb County, Business, Featured, Health, Local News, WMGT

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