About LHR Farms

Q: What is LHR Farms?

A: LHR Farms is a residential and industrial recycling facility, horse farm, and meeting facility located on 350 acres just outside of the city of Cleveland in White County, Ga. It was founded in 1996 by John Hulsey, who also owns Hulsey Environmental Services of Gainesville.

Q: How does LHR Farm process and dispose of septic tank waste?

A: Septic tank waste, also called septage, is periodically pumped from septic tanks across North Georgia. LHR Farms processes the waste by first killing all dangerous organisms with lime, then further treating this waste to reduce pollutants and nutrients before applying it to land and crops for final treatment and uptake of remaining nutrients. Commercial waste – including grease trap contents from restaurants – is also treated on site to remove water. It is then further treated to reduce pollutants and nutrients before being applied to the land. All solids are removed and taken off site to a landfill for disposal. The process LHR Farms uses to treat wastewater is very similar to that used by Helen, Flowery Branch and other municipalities across the state. One difference is that the water at LHR Farms is actually treated to a higher level with the use of hydrogen peroxide.

Q: Is LHR Farms performing a vital service for North Georgia?

A: The proper management and disposal of septic tank waste and commercial waste – which includes grease trap waste – is vital to the health of our communities. This waste has to go somewhere, and most local sewer systems cannot handle it. LHR Farms and other similar operations around the state arose to meet this growing demand and to provide a safe alternative to the practice of “midnight dumping,” which can cause irreparable harm to watersheds and well contamination, and to remove restaurant grease from sewers, which can cause millions of dollars of damaging back-ups, sewer line clogs and spills from clogged lift stations. This is especially relevant in a time of drought. If LHR Farms did not exist, sewer and grease pumping companies would have to take waste to another facility farther away, raising costs in the local community.

Q: What happens to solids that come into LHR Farms?

A: All material contained in trucks that arrive at LHR Farms for processing—whether commercial waste or septic tank waste—is first dewatered. Solids are then taken to licensed landfills for disposal. Legally, we could apply some solids through a safe and permitted method known as subsurface injection or septage land disposal, as we have done on a limited basis in the past. However, since transitioning to a land application spraying system in 2007, we no longer apply and recycle solids on our site and have no plans to revert to this method of treatment in the future.

Q: What are the differences between LHR Farms and municipal land application systems?

A: There are two primary differences: 1) we mix the streams of commercial and septic tank waste using a proprietary technology; and 2) we actually disinfect the combined waste stream to a greater degree than required for municipal facilities that receive similar wastes by using hydrogen peroxide. It is important to remember that all commercial and septic waste at LHR Farms is aggressively yet organically treated prior to spraying, and that the spraying occurs at agronomically correct rates, meaning it is sprayed at a rate that allows soils and grasses to naturally recycle and further treat these materials.

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