MOULTRIE — Preliminary work in the cleanup at the former Bridgeport Brass facility began this week, with removal of water in two holding ponds expected to begin next week.

The Bridgeport project is one of several issues on which interim County Manager Marion Hay will report to Colquitt County Commission during a meeting at 9 a.m. today.

Earlier this year the state’s Environmental Protection Division said that fines could be levied if significant progress in the cleanup is not made this year at the site off Industrial Drive.

“I think he has shown up to do the silt fencing,” Hay said of the contractor who is doing the cleanup. “They’re supposed to be here this week to put up silt screens and pipes to drain the water off. I think next week they will be doing some serious work.”

State efforts for remediation at the holding ponds at the site, which contain elevated levels of copper and nickel, date back to 1993, the EPD said.

The plant operated from 1959 to the early 1980s, and EPD does not consider the material at the site to be hazardous waste.

The cleanup plan calls for removing the contaminated sediment, which can be placed in a Subtitle D landfill, and transferring the leftover water to a waste water treatment facility. In addition, the plan requires returning grading at the site to the same level as before Bridgeport began operations.

EPD warned of possible fines in a March 17 letter sent to all county commissioners, city council members, then-County Administrator J.D. Byrd and then-Moultrie City Manager Tom Berry.

The county anticipates sharing costs with the City of Moultrie, with each paying about $315,000 for the work. Over the years, the city has spent about $1 million on the site prior to the county’s involvement.

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