Southeast
via Ogeechee Riverkeeper

GA - Georgia Poised to Allow More Pollution in Ogeechee River

A proposed pollution permit for a textile factory on the Ogeechee River would reduce protections for the popular recreational river, according to the Ogeechee Riverkeeper.

“The facility still struggles with violations and operating within the permit,” said Riverkeeper Damon Mullis. “Despite that, the EPD is looking at loosening it up.”

In 2011, a major fish kill below the King America Finishing plant in Screven County focused attention on the textile plant. State and federal regulators discovered the company had been operating a fire retardant line there without a permit.

The Ogeechee Riverkeeper sued under the Clean Water Act which produced a $2.5 million settlement, more frequent and transparent water testing protocol, and a discharge permit that Georgia Environmental Protection Division deemed its strictest permit ever. Along the way the plant was sold to Spartanburg-based Milliken and renamed the Milliken Longleaf Pine Facility.

Now that five-year permit is overdue for a renewal. EPD released a draft permit last month and has scheduled a virtual public hearing on the permit Nov. 17 with public comments due Nov. 20.

The plant had failed to comply with the Clean Water Act in all 12 of the last 12 quarters, racking up $354,500 in fines since 2015, according to EPD’s records.

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