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River group appeals discharge permit

POSTED: September 12, 2012 2:30 p.m.

The Ogeechee Riverkeeper organization filed an appeal Friday in protest of a wastewater discharge permit allowing a textiles plant to release chemical-laden waste into the Ogeechee River.
The best thing for the river is for King America Finishing to remove its discharge pipe, Ogeechee Riverkeeper Dianna Wedincamp said.
On behalf of the Ogeechee Riverkeeper organization, Atlanta-based GreenLaw and Stack and Associates filed an appeal of the Georgia EPD’s issuance of what they call “a water pollution permit” for King America Finishing’s plant in Screven County.
“For over six years, King America Finishing has illegally polluted the Ogeechee River,” Wedincamp said. “Tens of thousands of fish have died as a result of their illegal activity and the river downstream from them has been unsafe.”
Lee DeHihns, an attorney representing King America, said: “The new permit replaces the 2001 permit issued to King Finishing and has been updated to reflect all current facility operations.”
The permit places specific limits on the facility’s discharge for ammonia, formaldehyde, and dissolved oxygen with accelerated compliance schedules, he said.
“Additionally, the facility must regularly pass Whole Effluent Toxicity testing, which heavily monitors and regulates any impact that King America Finishing operations could have on wildlife and river ecology,” DeHihns said.
He added that the legal challenge resulting from the appeal will “… delay the effectiveness of the new permit for up to several months.”
The EPD issued the permit after public outcry against the plant’s discharges, which were linked to the largest fish kill in Georgia history in May 2011 as well as a subsequent kill a year later.

Read more in the Sept. 12 edition of the News.

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