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Letter seeks independent testing of river
Ogeechee residents don't trust King America Finishing
0909 Ogeechee polluted
In this photo from July, Ogeechee Riverkeeper Dianna Wedincamp investigates discharge from the King America Finishing plants pipe into the Ogeechee River. (Statesboro Herald)

POOLER — State lawmakers and some residents along the troubled Ogeechee River will put their names on a letter, asking the state Environmental Protection Division to mandate a Screven County plant use independent testing on its discharge into the river.
King America Finishing, which agreed to an EPD consent order last month and also agreed to fund $1 million in supplemental environmental projects, is seeking a renewal of its permit, allowing it to discharge into the Ogeechee River.
State lawmakers, led by Sen. Jack Hill, and others asked EPD officials Monday night if requiring the plant to have a third party conduct tests of its discharge can be made part of the permit renewal process.
“We’ve got to have the boots on the ground at the plant itself,” said Don Stack, an attorney representing the Ogeechee Riverkeeper in its Clean Water Act litigation against King America Finishing.
Monday night’s meeting, with Hill, state Sen. Buddy Carter and state Reps. Ann Purcell, Ron Stephens and Jan Tankersley, along with Riverkeeper Dianna Wedincamp and a handful of residents along the Ogeechee River, was a conference call with EPD officials.
King America stopped operation of two flame retardant finishing production lines on June 17. Testing of acute toxins has been conducted daily and will continue on a weekly basis. Chemical testing of the effluent is done daily and water from the river is sampled once per week, according to the EPD.
EPD officials said the discharge from King America Finishing is not causing a violation of water quality standards and is not killing any more fish. More than 38,000 fish were found dead in the Ogeechee in May.
Read more in the Oct. 8 edition of the News.

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