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Complaint ID 89400 — Public Copy

Report generated on October 17, 2021, 11:57 AM.

Status: Approved/Closed

Date Received April 11, 2019, 4:30 PM
Assigned Office Coastal District
Date Complaint Closed June 18, 2019, 11:55 AM
Review Comments [Not entered]

Complaint

Dear Ms. Wren, thank you for your response. However, as Mr. Kirkland states, once your office had issued a Certificate to Wittmer Agri-cycle, (which you did on February 18th, 2019) DNR/EPD is prevented from taking further action against the material and/or further toxins (which may be found in the coming Satilla Riverkeeper toxicity testing). This unknown toxicity level residing in the pine bark ash sludge waste by-product in addition to the obvious hazards of what is now known from the UGA Ag tests regarding this zinc-laden product, (Until this year was previously untested, since prior to 2012, according to Ms. Melissa Smith of your office.) should not have been commercially licensed until the testing was performed and the product found to be benign, which is not the case thus far. Your office (at my behest) only tested for calcium & magnesium & moisture, which IS of course, only what was found. The current test results did not match the previous un-dated test results prior to 2012 according to your previous email to me. No action had been taken until after my claim & investigation into Wittmer Agricycle & Joey Denison Trucking as being the operators of an unlicensed waste disposal operation originating from Brunswick Cellulose without proper licensing for "Pine Bark Ash & Lime" and calling it "Top Soil." This was at my request, without any initiative on the part of your office, EPD's or the contracted dumpers. The perpetrators Joey Denison Trucking and Shannon Foster of Wittmer allegedly have colluded and trafficked in an unlicensed PULP MILL WASTE byproduct for approx. 24-48 months 'out-of-compliance" with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, according to information given to me by your department, Ms. Melissa Smith. How blatantly ineffective both your agencies have become in this matter. Instead of pursuing further testing to determine beyond your Departments' ability of limited testing for calcium, magnesium & moisture, succumbing instead to bureaucratic bumbling with your primary issue being, allowing dumping rather than allowing the perpetrators to remain out-of-compliance. Whilst the perpetrators haven't a license and have taken advantage of poorly likely intentionally misinformed farmers, who have been told by Joey Denison of Joey Denison Trucking, the material is "top-soil." Despite all my efforts with Wittmer Agricycle both at the plant in Callahan, http://www.wittmer-agricycle.com/Products.html and by my efforts requesting certification, licensure and materials content from their embedded agent at Koch Bros. Brunswick Cellulose, Wittmer's Shannon Foster, nothing was presented as evidence of the safety or elemental components of this zinc-laden material. I am a personal victim, whilst our family farm has approx 170 (16-24 ton) loads of this material, leaching into the ground and water under storage, awaiting spreading or movement to other farms. (Previously, the material was found at Bowen Dairy Farms, without a Certificate, and the removal and containment much to the accolades of DNR/EPD were accomplished. The material remains just as hazardous now as then. As it must have been obvious to DNR/EPD there was no Certificate, I'm surprised this had not been previously investigated. Obviously, beyond any caveat of reason, neither of your offices were concerned sufficiently about the continued actual acidity and possible toxicity of the material. It would have been preferable to have either ordered or waited on the results from the UGA Ag Labs Soil Digestion Report, in addition to possible heavy metals which may or may not be found in the Satilla Riverkeepers testing or testing for possibly harmful chemical solvents. Resulting from your issuance of the Certificate, we are facing continuous filtering into our groundwater from the surfactant cleaning process of the sludge waste product "Pine Bark Ash & Lime" dumping on ag and timberlands. Your office and Mr. Kirklands' have the high prestige in the State of Georgia amongst its' citizenry, to acknowledge State issued Certificates as a "licensure." If the farmer, whom at worst may only be a high school graduate in many cases, sees your Certificate, he or she may assume all is well, otherwise, the "license" would never have been granted, likely surmised. A great disservice has been done to our citizenry, ag farmers and tree farmers. This is a wakeup call. Primary damage may still be curtailed if your Office acts and revokes this Certificate of February 18th. Brunswick Cellulose should be forced to dump the ash in a well-preserved landfill. Disappointingly, your chief concern apparently was in making certain Wittmer/Denison has a "Certificate." Wittmer Agricycle using the subcontractor "Consumer" Joey Denison Trucking of Scenic Drive Offerman, GA continues to disseminate a waste material so zinc-laden, commercial farmers refuse to lease these ag-lands after dumping. The ultimate unwary consumer is the farmer or heirs of a farmer whom unwittingly allow this ash-laden re-injection material on their property. Landowners are being wrongfully misled. This material should be exempted from "Certificate" and placed in a secure leak proof landfill, not on cultivated agriculture & cutover forest lands. I spent most of November and December attempting to get a copy of the current license or certificate from Wittmer. No certificate was ever presented until February 18th, 2019, until it was applied for by Wittmer and issued by your office. This could not have been an oversight but rather an intentional effort to disseminate a known harmful material for ill-gotten gain onto the property of bamboozled landowners by Brunswick Cellulose, Wittmer Agricycle, and Joey Denison Trucking. Mr. Denison sold a load to me last spring as topsoil for $300.00. It was not topsoil. I requested removal of the product but was assured the material was topsoil. When I asked for proof, none was given, until a March 15th, 2016 "Manure Nutrient Analysis Report" signed off by Brunswick Cellulose Plant Manager Mike Vogel (surfaced through a third party) and paid for by Wittmer & Associates, tested by AgSource showing Zinc at 140 ppm. Neither the calcium nor magnesium levels match the Dept. of Ag findings. Nor does their test match the UGA Ag Labs test for zinc at 1996 PPM. Now I come as a citizen on behalf of other farmer citizens in Georgia being misled and for those whom have been coerced to sign a "Waiver of Liability" by Wittmer Agricycle and/or Joey Denison Trucking and demand relief while suggesting this be sent up for Review by the "Director" mentioned in F4. Further: The license issued to Wittmer Agricycle & Joey Denison "Consumer" should be revoked immediately with EPD following up to enforce safety and removal methods to stop the leachate & spreading of this material into our soils before they become so acidic to the ruination of South East GA ag-lands, swamps, streams, creeks and ultimately our groundwater. The capacity for Brunswick Cellulose and other like mills to continuously churn out this by-product waste material is seemingly endless. Our cultivated lands for food crops are NOT ENDLESS. Any silviculturist could tell you, even pine trees won't grow productively where the soil is too acidic. There is a limit on acceptable PPM of Zinc on loamy ag soils and it is <100 ppm while the actual Zinc levels in this material are greater than 1995 ppm. (UGA AG SOIL DIGESTION TEST) dated January 14th, 2019. This dumping endangers both our soils and forestry lands. Rule 391-3-4-.04 7 F-4 .A material is not "used, reused or recycled" when it is applied to or placed on or in the land in a manner that constitutes disposal which, in the opinion of the Director, may pose a threat to human health and the environment (for example, utilizing soil containing levels of hazardous constituents, as listed in Chapter 391-3-11, 40 CFR Part 261, Appendix VIII for fill material when those levels are greater than the background levels in the area to be filled, land applying sludge in excess of generally accepted agricultural practices or use of inherently waste-like materials as fill material). Sincerely, la LA Chancey

Primary Concern Comprehensive Solid Waste
Secondary Concern [Not entered]
Location of Complaint [Not entered]
City of Complaint Patterson
County of Complaint Pierce

Source

Facility ID Number [Not entered]
Source Name Wittmer Agricycle & Joey Denison Trucking
Source Contact [Not entered]
Source Address [Not entered]

Actions

April 17, 2019 — Initial Investigation

I called Ms. Chancey this morning and left a message for her to give me a call back. I arrived at 9 St. Andrews Ct., Suite 103 in Brunswick at 10:05 AM and found a business named Netlink IP Communications which was closed. I then traveled to 7154 Scenic Drive near Patterson and briefly spoke with a Mr. Smith who connected me to Ms. Linda Chancey by phone. I interviewed Ms. Chancey who stated that her older sister, Amy Chancey, who is the executor of the family estate of approximately 490 acres of land leased 167 aces of the estate to Mr. Joey Denison. Ms. Chancey restated that she believes that the piles of dark material deposited on their family's land by Mr. Denison is high in heavy metals and is polluting the land. Ms. Chancey states that she purchased top soil from Mr. Denison and believes he brought her the dark material instead of top soil. Ms. Chancey also stated that approximately 150 - 170 loads of the material have been deposited on their land. I noted 8-10 piles of the dark material from Scenic Drive before speaking with Ms. Chancey. I then traveled to 6609 Scenic Drive and interviewed Mr. Joey Denison who confirmed that he received a 5 year lease from Amy Chancey and farms the land. He stated that he works as a subcontractor for the George Wittmer Company and delivers the dark material he states is a bark ash/lime dregs to 75-80 customers/farmers to be applied on the land as a soil amendment/pH adjustment. Farmers test their soils and order accordingly and Mr. Denison delivers and spreads the material and the farmers harrow the material into the soil. Approximately 15-20 tons per acre is applied. I asked how long does it take when the material is delivered until it is spread over the land. Mr. Denison stated that weather and crop rotations can delay spreading the material for 2-3 months. The 17 loads along Scenic Drive according to Mr. Denison were delivered early this February and should be spread and harrowed within 30 days. I inquired about the top soil delivered to Ms. Linda Chancey. Mr. Denison stated that the top soil delivered to Ms. Chancey comes from Callahan Florida and is not the bark ash/lime material. Mr. Denison took me to his father's property on the corner of Scenic Drive and Woodcock Road where he temporarily stores top soil and lime. Next we went to 5853 Chancey Road to the Chancey land being farmed by Mr. Denison. I noted 3-4 groups of piles located on different fields. Mr. Denison states that he maintains records of deliveries and records are also maintained by the George Wittmer Company.

April 17, 2019 — Initial Investigation

June 5, 2019 — Follow-Up Investigation Report

I spoke to Joey Denison who in formed me that the ash piles on the Chancey property have been removed and taken to several other farms and land applied. I asked Mr. Denison to e-mail me confirmation photos showing the piles were removed from the Chancey Property.

June 6, 2019 — Follow-Up Investigation Report

I received e-mail photos from Mr. Denison showing areas where the ash piles were removed from the Chancey Property.

June 17, 2019 — Follow-Up Investigation Report

I spoke with Ms. Chancey and informed her that the complaint will be available for review this Friday, June 21st. I then made a site inspection at the Chancey property today. No ash piles were noted during this site inspection. New photos of ash pile locations were taken during the investigation indicating the piles were removed (see photo attachments).

Attachments

(Attachments are only available for complaints created after April 2018. Please note that not every complaint will necessarily have attachments.)

Scenic Drive Denison Property - Top Soil.JPG
5.53 MB
Scenic Drive Denison Property - Calcium Lime-dark - plaster lime-white.JPG
3.84 MB
Scenic Drive Chancey Property - Bark Ash & Lime Dregs Mix loc 1.JPG
7.38 MB
Scenic Drive Chancey Property - Bark Ash & Lime Dregs Mix loc 2.JPG
3.31 MB
Scenic Drive Chancey Property - Bark Ash & Lime Dregs Mix loc 3.JPG
5.67 MB

e-mailed Denison Photos.pdf
1.23 MB
Scenic Drive Chancey Property - Bark Ash & Lime Dregs Mix loc 1 - 6-17-19.JPG
4.86 MB
Scenic Drive Chancey Property - Bark Ash & Lime Dregs Mix loc 2 - 6-17-19.JPG
2.97 MB
Scenic Drive Chancey Property - Bark Ash & Lime Dregs Mix loc 3 - 6-17-19.JPG
5.36 MB