EPA teams “battling the sludge” at old Reef plant

[lin_video src=http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/embed/player.js?aspect_ratio=16×9&auto_next=1&auto_start=0&div_id=videoplayer-1372287408&height=480&page_count=5&pf_id=9624&show_title=1&va_id=4118436&width=640&windows=2 service=syndicaster width=640 height=480 div_id=videoplayer-1372287408 type=script]SYLACAUGA, Ala. (WIAT) — Teams from the Environmental Protection Agency have discharged about 6 million gallons of treated waste water into a creek in Sylacauga in an effort to clean up an abandoned waste water treatment plant.

Crews have been on the old Reef Plant site since October because the harmful chemical hydrogen sulfide was detected in the thousands of gallons of toxic liquid and sludge.

Neighbors complained of a terrible odor coming from the site.

After treating the water with hydrogen peroxide and Lyme, crews began discharging some of the water into nearby Shirtee Creek. The process was running smoothly until recently, when engineers noticed a buildup of oily sludge at the bottom of the basins.

This sludge is clogging up the filters, which is slowing down the discharge process. EPA On-Scene Coordinator Jason Booth calls this “the battle of the sludge.”

Booth has brought in additional employees to help handle the mess. His team is working from 7am to 2am daily.

The EPA has spent more than $1.5 million dollars on this project so far; Booth plans to keep the cost of the entire project less than $2.1 million.

Booth says their work should be completed by the end of July.

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