An order of continuance issued by the judge in the Wilbros civil case orders both sides to report back to him next month.
Judge Robert Adamson signed the official order of continuance May 19 and it was filed Friday in the Stephens County Clerk of Court’s Office.
In that order, Judge Adamson orders that attorneys and experts for both sides in the case continue to communicate and consult with each other towards resolving the claims in the case for a 30-day period that started on May 10.
In the judge’s order, he asks attorneys for both Stephens County and the other plaintiffs and Wilbros to submit a proposed joint order modifying the interim order on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction. That order, first issued in January, made the Consent Order entered into between the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and Wilbros a court order and the Court ordered Wilbros to comply with all terms of that consent order.
The order for continuance also states that if the two sides cannot agree to the terms of a new joint order, each side will submit its own proposed order modifying that interim order no later than 15 days following the conclusion of the 30-day period, at which time the Court will hold a hearing to address the sides’ positions.
Stephens County, the city of Toccoa, the Stephens County School System, and the Concerned Citizens of Toccoa-Stephens County citizens’ group are suing Wilbros and associated defendants over the odor coming from Wilbros.
A trial was scheduled to start last week, but Judge Adamson granted the continuance on the case at the request of Wilbros in order to allow Wilbros to construct and implement an “in vessel” composting process.
According to Stephens County Attorney Brian Ranck, “in vessel” composting involves cycling the material to be composted through an indoor process for the first 7 days. Ranck said that Judge Adamson has indicated a desire to see if “in vessel” composting helps the odor situation involving the Wilbros facility on Rose Lane in Stephens County.
At that time, the judge also asked experts to make additional recommendations of other steps Wilbros could take to abate the odors.
According to the order for continuance, the two sides met on May 7, May 9, and were scheduled to have met again on May 22. The order goes on to state that “based upon the parties’ representations that they are hopeful that progress can be made, this Court finds that time and resources will be better spent in additional meetings and collaboration among the parties to address and attempt to resolve the issues that are before the Court than to put that investment of time and expense into trial at this time.”