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

TFWC Commission Sets 2017-18 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons; Elects New Officers

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission established the 2017-18 waterfowl and other migratory bird hunting seasons at its February meeting. The TFWC also elected its new officers for the coming year. The actions occurred at the TFWC’s two-day meeting which concluded Friday afternoon at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region II Ray Bell Building. The TFWC approved ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Councilman Anderson, And Community Kick Off Construction Of New Park On Long-Vacant Site In Middle Of Alton Park

Alton Park community leaders on Thursday afternoon joined Mayor Andy Berke, Councilman Chris Anderson, and other city and county officials to break ground at the former Charles A. Bell Elementary School site, kicking off construction that will turn a long-vacant site into a vibrant park and gathering place for the neighborhood. “Parks impact quality of life in a number of ... (click for more)

Man, Child Killed In Crash On Highway 136 In Walker County; 2nd Child Seriously Injured

A man and an unrestrained five-year-old child were killed when a vehicle went out of control on Highway 136 in Walker County on Saturday. A 10-year-old in the car was seriously injured. The driver was thrown from the van and was dead at the scene. The five-year-old was trapped in the vehicle and also died at the wreck site at Ponder Creek Road. The Georgia State Patrol ... (click for more)

2 People Shot After Domestic Dispute In Brainerd; Corey Moon Taken Into Custody On Saturday Night

Two people were shot during a domestic dispute in Brainerd late Friday night.   Chattanooga Police responded at 11:17 p.m. to the 4700 block of Rogers Road on a shooting. The following are the preliminary facts of that investigation.   Officers were able to locate two victims, Cortez Moon, 23, and Terri Dossett, 45, suffering from non-life threatening gunshot ... (click for more)

Rhonda Thurman: Speaking The Truth About CSLA - And Response

One parent called me a “Liar” during Thursday’s Facilities meeting. Others from CSLA have been a bit more creative saying that I spread “misinformation”, “falsehoods” and “spread inaccurate statements”. Then there were more descriptive terms- “arrogant”, “uninformed”, “unprofessional”- if these CSLA parents don’t stop, they are going to hurt my feelings. In this letter, I will attempt ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Illegals Cost Us Billions

We learned over the weekend that John Kelly, our new Secretary of Homeland Security, has just prepared two strongly-worded memos that could greatly enhance federal authorities to detain and/or deport illegal immigrants both inside the United States and those caught at our borders. All rational United States citizens know we have a horrible problem with illegals – in 2010 the annual ... (click for more)