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Bodycam reveals trucks cited for using back roads to deliver biosolids to Polk Co.

Photo via McCaysville Police Department bodycam.
Photo via McCaysville Police Department bodycam.
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Police body camera footage shows police in McCaysville, Georgia confronting truck drivers using back roads to deliver biosolids to Polk County - which county commissioners want to keep out.

It's part of our continuing investigation into this issue. See our previous stories here and here.

McCaysville Police told us they've recently stopped trucks hauling biosolids and cited drivers for going over a local bridge with a vehicle over the bridge's weight limit.

The bridge can only hold up to 25 tons which is 50 thousand pounds.

"His gross weight capacity was 73,000 something pounds. The other one was 67,000 something pounds," says Chief Earley.

In two video clips we watched, drivers tell police they were told by their bosses to use back roads to get into Polk County, rather than take the main road.

We were told 'do not go through town, they do not want trucks going through town,'" the driver tells the officer.

Watch one of the clips below (Note: this clip contains a 4-letter word that begins with 's'):

The drivers cited work for Atomic Transport. We uncovered they were hired by Denali Water to deliver the biosolids from Cobb County, Georgia to Polk County.

Copperhill Industries accepts the biosolids and uses it to try and regenerate vegetation on the land, stripped by years of mining.

We've been seeing these trucks go through every day, we're not sure what's going on,' an officer tells a driver from Kennesaw.

The driver went on to say he would prefer to take a more direct route because it would save him time and be 'so much easier.'

The weight capacity is not the only problem. Police say many of the trucks they pulled over we re leaking biosolids from the back, which goes against Georgia state regulations.

"The smell would knock you down. But the main concern we had was the weight capacity of what he was hauling." McCaysville Police Chief Mike Early told us on Friday. 'My eyes were watering and you could barely breathe, the smell was almost unbearable. And this stuff was leaking out of the back onto our roads.

Early said the trucks did not have a permit to transport biosolids through the state of Georgia. He said the state told the company they need to stop delivering the biosolids until they got a state-issued permit. He says it appears they have stopped making those deliveries.

So what can Polk County do?

Polk County Executive Robby Hatcher told us Friday that county leaders asked him to get with the county attorney to figure out how to pursue this matter in chancery court or criminal court against Copperhill Industries, which receives the biosolids.

We're going to make sure that our residents understand that we're about protecting them, and to see what is best for the county moving forward,' Hatcher said.

Hatcher also said they've been having trouble getting information from the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation. When they called to ask where the biosolids were coming from, they were told they had to put in an open records request.

It's about getting the information and seeing the transparency.

But when we asked TDEC why the trucks were bring biosolids, a spokesperson told us...

Copperhill Industries is engaged in a pilot project to remediate the historic mining site which entails processing material from Cobb County, Georgia and converting it to a Class A/Exceptional Quality material (biosolids). TDEC is aware of the project and helping to oversee the process. Due to the remedial nature of this site, there are no TDEC permitting requirements at this time however all the substantive requirements that a permit may contain still apply. Denali Water Solutions is responsible for implementing the project and is the appropriate entity to speak to specifics about the process.

John Hill lives less than a mile from Copperhill Industries.

"I can’t understand why they need to truck it," says Hill.

He says aside from the legal issues, the smell of the material is hurting his quality of life.

"I can’t see that being any good," says Hill.

Biosolids are used to fertilize crops, but recently concerns have been raised on the federal level about the chemicals they contain, including PFAS, which causes cancer. The federal Environmental Protection Agency announced new guidelines to limit PFAS exposure back in March.

We continue to dig deeper to uncover new details about this story. Depend on us for continuing coverage.

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