Tennessee Riverkeeper Files Notice Of Intent To Sue Henagar Industrial Waste Water Treatment Plant

Monday, August 13, 2012
Henagar Industrial Waste Water Treatment Plant
Henagar Industrial Waste Water Treatment Plant
- photo by David Whiteside

Tennessee Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organization protecting the Tennessee River watershed, has mailed notice of intent to sue the City of Henagar over the operation of the Henagar Industrial Park Waste Water Treatment Plant. Riverkeeper alleges persistent and ongoing problems at the plant with multiple discharge violations almost every month since April 2008.  The plant has incurred approximately 2,839 violations during that time.  Most disturbing are the violations involving release of excessive amounts of the toxins mercury and copper.  

The plant's discharge has failed toxicity tests on a regular basis.   According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: exposures to mercury can affect the human nervous system and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system.  Nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury.  But some contain high levels.  Fish absorb methylmercury when they eat aquatic plants, algae, and smaller aquatic organisms.  Larger and older fish absorb more methylmercury as they eat other fish.  In this way, the amount of methylmercury builds up as it passes through the food chain.  Fish eliminate methylmercury slowly, and so it builds up in fish in much greater concentrations than in the surrounding water.  Methylmercury generally reaches the highest levels in predatory fish at the top of the aquatic food chain.  Elevated levels of copper are toxic in aquatic environments and may adversely affect fish, invertebrates, plants, and amphibians.  Acute toxic effects may include mortality of organisms; chronic toxicity can result in reductions in survival, reproduction, and growth.  In humans, small amounts of copper are necessary to maintain good health; however, higher concentrations of copper may cause health effects such as irritation of the nose, mouth, and eyes; nausea; and diarrhea.

The Henagar Industrial Plant discharges into South Sauty Creek which flows through Buck's Pocket State Park on its way to Lake Guntersville of the Tennessee River.  The Creek is a popular Class V whitewater run for advanced paddle athletes.  Other recreational users of these waters are fishermen, swimmers, campers, and hikers.  All may be at risk from bodily contact with contaminated water, ingestion of contaminated water, or eating fish tainted with toxins. 

Tennessee Riverkeeper also mailed notices of intent to sue to Koch Farms and Wright's Hosiery, the two largest industrial dischargers to the treatment plant.  Wright's Hosiery bleaches and dies hosiery, then discharges wastewater to the Henagar treatment plant.  Tests conducted by the plant show high amounts of copper in their discharge.  Wright's discharges so much color in its wastewater that the Henagar plant has been unable to remove enough of it before discharge to comply with its permit.  Koch Farms is a poultry hatchery operation that discharges its wastewater to the Henagar treatment plant.  Tests have shown high copper amounts discharged by Koch as well.  

Kayaker on South Sauty Creek
Kayaker on South Sauty Creek
- Photo2 by Jeremy Adkins

Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga: Outdoor Chattanooga Winter Workshop Series Jan-March 2016 Outdoor Chattanooga's Winter Workshop Series are FREE classroom based seminars and workshops designed to educate and inspire the public to be confident to get outdoors. The workshops cover a variety of topics and occur on Thursdays from 6 - 7:30 p.m. beginning ... (click for more)

March 2016 Events At Georgia’s State Parks And Historic Sites

Below is a sample of March events at Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites. For more programs, visit  www.GaStateParks.org/events  and the parks’ web pages.   More information on accommodations and recreation can be found at GeorgiaStateParks.org  or  1-800-864-7275 .    H idden  G em Ser ies Throughout 2016, ... (click for more)

Wintry Mix Possible For Chattanooga Area

A wintry mix is possible for the Chattanooga area beginning Sunday. However, there could be little or no snow and ice unless temperatures dip. Here is the latest forecast from the National Weather Service: MIXED WINTRY PRECIPITATION EXPECTED SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY MORNING... A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN FALLING ACROSS THE SOUTHERN CUMBERLAND PLATEAU...THE ... (click for more)

Man At Homeless Camp On Chestnut Street Charged With Trying To Set Fire To Another Man

A man at a homeless camp on Chestnut Street has been charged with trying to set fire to another man at the camp. Richard Warren "Trey" Erwin, 40, is charged with aggravated arson. Police were called to the 2200 block of Chestnut at 12:40 a.m. Earlier, Michael Nye and Alisa Buckels had called for an ambulance. They were checked out at Erlanger Hospital for inhalation injuries. ... (click for more)

Black History Month Hero - Theodore McGraw (Kidd) AKA "Pongee" - And Response

I grew up in "Old St. Elmo" on 39th Street behind the Incline. As a child I remember my older brother "Pongee" as being my hero. This month of February being Black History Month, I cannot think of a better person to be honored than my late older brother, Theodore McGraw (Kidd) aka "Pongee" of St. Elmo (Gamble Town). Growing up without my father, Theodore was always available ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Evaluators Earn $11.70

A number of curious job notices, under the heading of ‘General Labor,’ have appeared on various Craigslists, that free Internet portal where you can find everything from a used lawn tractor, guitar lessons or even a saucy Saturday night date. This week on the Charlotte, N.C., Craigslist, for example, there appeared an offer to become a “reader/evaluator” for a company known as Measurement ... (click for more)