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

2016 Application Period For Peregrine Falcon Trapping For Falconry Usage Is Underway

The 2016 application period for the trapping of a peregrine falcon to be used in falconry is underway, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced. The TWRA will award this permit to the winner of a draw to be held on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Falconers may go to TWRA’s website under the Hot Topics section and locate the print-ready application and also view the requirements. ... (click for more)

Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga: Free Bicycling Skills Rodeo July 23 Wrangle up your bike and helmet and come ride with us on Sat., July 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tennessee River Park - Shelter #3, 4301 Amnicola Hwy. This free bicycle skills rodeo will have multiple stations offering games and fun for all ages and skill levels. You'll learn ... (click for more)

Customer Who Shot Robber At East Ridge Convenience Store Said He Threw Cigarette Rack At Him, Threatened To Kill Female Clerk

The customer who shot and killed a robber at an East Ridge convenience store on June 30 said the robber threw a cigarette rack at him and also threatened to kill a female clerk. Charles Russell also said that he fired when Anthony Edmonds reached for something. He said he thought he was going for a gun. East Ridge Police said Edmonds was armed with a meat cleaver that he wielded ... (click for more)

DA's Office Defends Suspended Sentence In School Bus Driver Rape Case

The District Attorney's Office defended a controversial suspended sentence in a rape case involving a substitute county school bus driver. Prosecutor Jason Demastus said the victim, who was 15 years old at the time of the March 2015 incident, was in agreement on the plea and refused to testify against Alexander Rodriquez. Rodriguez, 34, last Thursday pleaded guilty to ... (click for more)

Make America Good Again - And Response

“No people can be great, who have ceased to be virtuous.”   Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) Last week I witnessed first hand the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. As I observed the happenings within the Quicken Arena, the one theme that continued to pop up again and again, was  Make America Great Again .  Of course, that being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Keep Mike Carter’s Genius

Mike Carter, who has just been chosen as the “Best Overall” member of the Tennessee Legislature by a group known as the Tennessee Forum and “Legislator of the Year” by Citizens for Home Rule, is truly both. A lawyer and then a Sessions Court judge for 8 ½ years, he is overwhelmingly favored to win a third term during next Thursday’s election and rightly so. While it is laudable ... (click for more)