COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled in Columbus Water Works’ favor on its appeal of new permit requirements issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

A September 2021 court ruling required Columbus Water Works to overhaul the Combined Sewer System to meet new permit requirements, something that would cost a hefty penny.

“It’s an unnecessary expense for ratepayers to have to bear at this point and that’s the emphasis on the appeal.”

Vic Burchfield – Vice President, Columbus Water Works

This appeal allows Columbus Water Works to defend why they believe the current infrastructure already produces high quality water.

“What this reversal does is allows us to go in and have our day in court and present our evidence. If the appeal were to come out in our favor at the very end of this, we would not have to continue to spend money on a plant that is already producing great water quality.”

Vic Burchfield – Vice President, Columbus Water Works

In January Columbus Water Works took out a $27.6 million loan, $16 million of which is related to the Combined Sewer System Requirements. Columbus Water Works filed the appeal not long after the latest permit was issued but it does not stop what has already been a financial burden.

“The permit is currently in place so we have to go ahead and comply with the permit. We have to go ahead and secure the loans necessary to make those improvements.”

Vic Burchfield – Vice President, Columbus Water Works

Something that could have an effect on residents’ bills in the long term.

“Our rates are increased due to the infrastructure improvement requirements. But we incrementally plan for increases for infrastructure and maintenance and improvements in our 5-year forecast.”

Vic Burchfield – Vice President, Columbus Water Works

Burchfield tells WRBL they are very pleased by the decision from the court of appeals, they hope this continues to move in their favor.