EPD: Draft Permit for King America was Studied Thoroughly, Discharge is Safe
By JoAnn Merrigan - email
Georgia's Environmental Protection Division (EPD) doesn't always get high marks from the public. That might be especially true for folks who live along the Ogeechee River. But EPD's Assistant Director Jim Ussery says in the past two years, since the largest fish kill in state history was discovered, that his agency has had the health of the river in mi
While Ussery says the number one priority is that the discharge must meet water quality standards, he also told me that "the value that the company brings in terms of jobs and economic development to the community is certainly considered as part of the evaluation."
Still, Ussery says what people should know is that the draft permit calls for stringent limits on substances like formaldehyde in the discharge as well as a long list of monitoring requirements. "This discharge has been subject to over 500 toxicity tests since July of 2011, that's just unprecedented," Ussery said. "It's heavily monitored now. And there's additional monitoring in the new permit as well. And so we absolutely know the discharge is safe."
Ussery also said the new permit will require a third party to monitor water testing done by the plant and the state. He says results of that third party will be posted online for the public to view. He told me the draft permit calls for daily monitoring in some areas and when it comes to PH levels in the water, "continuous monitoring." There will also be an alarm system that sounds if the PH level for example, goes too high.
"We did a thorough review of the initial permit, we talked to lots of people and got their input," he says. "The Federal EPA has reviewed the permit and is satisfied this is a good permit that protects water quality."
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Just to be clear, there were 2 fish kills, not just one.
When the first one happened, the EPD didn't even bother to let the public know about the first kill several days after it happened. I found out when friends went out to go paddling and they told me everything was dead and had to wait a few days to read a news story about it.
Later, when the second one happened and killed many of the fish the EPD added to the Ogeechee with tax payer money, the EPD said it was because of "environmental conditions" despite an aerial photo showing concentrations of something pink flowing south from the carpet plant.
It is completely fair to ask for compensation in this case. The EPD and regulations were set up to avoid exactly this type of legal storm ever time something like this happens. The enforcement of the basic principle that you should not be allowed to push operating costs on to other people has been lost. This is because the water regulatory system is underfunded to the point that members of the public and their property are no longer adequately protected. In this current situation is is completely legitimate for people to resort to other, more burdensome methods to get compensation for damage to their property.
Turkey Lady and All..
I do not want the money either.... I want to bankrupt the bums and run them out of business. Otherwise they can take their pipe out of the river and dispose of this toxic sludge the right way... not down our river.