Supporters may have found another use for an old wastewater treatment plant they want to turn into a laboratory to study the saltwater marshes along the St. Marys River.
St. Marys City Council members Linda Williams and Dave Reilly are among those who believe the site at the end of Weed Street may be a good location to establish an oyster nursery.
Williams, a retired teacher, said city resident Tom Canning told her about the state's efforts to revitalize the shellfish industry in Coastal Georgia.
The plan is to raise baby oysters in stainless steel basins. After they grow to a certain size, the containers with the oysters would be taken to other areas to be deposited.
Williams said the program is already in operation in the Savannah area with help from the University of Georgia.
She said it will take about a year to study the conditions to determine if they are good enough to establish a nursery.
She said water salinity, pH and, to a lesser degree, temperature are all considerations that will determine if the site is appropriate.
"We've got a good year of testing," she said. "Once we have those records, we'll see if we have a good site. It's an idea worth investigating."
One thing that makes the site potentially appealing to the commercial oyster industry is the treatment plant's inbound and outbound pipes are still functional, Williams said.
She said the nursery would generate no noise or odor.
The nursery would take up very little space at the site and it could coexist with the proposed marine education center, she said.
"If it flies, it's a win-win for everyone," she said. "We're hoping it could work."