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Fighting to Save the Ogeechee River
Auburn University Fisheries Professor Weighs in on Ogeechee River Fish Kill

June 11, 2012:  Auburn University Fisheries Professor Dr. Alan Wilson issued a statement on the likely causes of the historic Ogeechee River fish kill, and the contamination from King America Finishing.  King America Finishing is a textile finishing industry and the lone industrial discharge directly into the Ogeechee River.  Dr. Wilson contends that the lack of dead fish above the industrial pollution discharge and the amount of ammonia recorded during the historic fish kill in May 2011 are clear evidence that the pollution discharge from King America Finishing was responsible for the fish kill:

Chronic exposure to such high ammonia concentrations recorded at the discharge can be hazardous for aquatic wildlife, including fish, and make them more vulnerable to other stressors, like disease. Clearly, toxic concentrations of ammonia have been released into the river by KF (King America Finishing) and were likely being released well before and at the start of the May 2011 fish kill. King Finishing, in association with Mother Nature, is responsible for the fish kill last May. There is no other reasonable explanation given the location of the dead fish and the water quality data observed above, at, and below the discharge.

Dr. Wilson also asserts that the proposed pollution permit for King America Finishing will not protect the river, the fish or the people who use it from future contamination issues:
 

In short, the proposed discharge limits are flawed and will not protect wildlife or prevent another fish kill. The recent fish deaths below the KF (King America Finishing) discharge in the Ogeechee River around the one year anniversary of the largest fish kill in GA history raise serious questions about the proposed discharge limits. EPD should place a higher regard on the wildlife and users of the Ogeechee River by more tightly controlling the KF effluent to prevent any future fish kills. Ammonia and other toxic chemicals should be prohibited.


Read the full comment letter.

 


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Fish in the Ogeechee River began turning up with sores and dying in May 2011. The historic fish kill ended up with over 33,000 dead fish and a summer lost to south Georgia fisherman. A year later in May 2012 another fish kill was reported. Photo courtesy Georgia Public Broadcasting Flickr photostream.
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