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Public voices opinion on coal ash pond plan

Georgia Power plans to remove the surface water from ash ponds at the Plant Branch power plant in Milledgeville before treating it and putting it in the lake. 

People in Milledgeville made their voice heard Tuesday night about water concerns on Lake Sinclair.

Georgia Power plans to remove the surface water from ash ponds at the Plant Branch power plant in Milledgeville before treating it and putting it in the lake.

The Georgia Power Plant Branch power plant on Lake Sinclair has been in the process of shutting down since 2015, and now it's time to deal with coal ash that sits in ponds around the plant. The first step is to remove the surface water from those ponds, something Georgia Power is already doing at other plants.

"So far, that's what we're seeing -- those ash ponds are being de-watered and water quality is being protected," according to Jac Capp with the Georgia Environmental Protection division. He says Georgia Power plans to treat and filter the water from the ponds before returning it to Lake Sinclair, and some people who live in the area are on board with that plan.

"They are taking the time to tell us what they are doing, and I would probably drink the water coming out of there as long as I saw the test," said John Granich.

Others like Sheri Johnson aren't sold on the plan just yet.

"I want testing for heavy metals before that water is released into Lake Sinclair. Surely there are filters that can filter out arsenic and lead," said Johnson.

According to the permit Georgia Power will test samplings weekly for possible contaminants like zinc and arsenic.

They will also check samples both up- and downstream monthly, but people that live by the lake like Lisa Batt say more testing wouldn't hurt.

"I just ask that we do due diligence and not just doing just doing checks on a weekly or monthly basis. We do it daily because our lives and our health is what's important here," said Batt.

Georgia Power will be able to start treating the water as soon as they have EPD approval.

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