A poultry plant accidentally released a corrosive and dangerous chemical into a nearby waterway, but did not report the incident to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. It wasn’t until the city reported hundreds of fish and other wildlife were showing up dead that the EPD was called in to intervene.
According to Dawson County News, a worker operating a forklift at the plant accidentally punctured a large drum of ferric chloride. Ferric Chloride is used to treat wastewater, however when concentrated is harmful to humans (and animals alike).
Joe Cook, with the Coosa River Basin Initiative, told Dawson County News that this chemical spill is symptomatic of larger issues with the EPD.
“What took place at Gold Creek Foods is a symptom of a larger problem of industrial facilities often not having in place proper safeguards and state agencies not having resources to inspect facilities to make sure tragedies like this don’t happen,” he said.
“The EPD is not allocated enough funds to protect these streams where we swim and fish and boat and get our drinking water. Maybe if they had been inspected in the past five years, this wouldn’t have happened,” Cook added.
As Cook said, the Gold Creek Foods plant had not been inspected in five years. What’s more, the plant did not notify the state of the chemical spill. Children at a nearby elementary school saw their recess cancelled as the city waited on results about whether or not the contaminants had reached the playground.
For all conservatives’ “free market” talk, we all benefit from having at least some regulations in place — and, more importantly, enforced — to make sure our water, air, and soil are safe and healthy. What would it look like if our leaders were actually invested in protecting our health, and in protecting the environment we all depend on? To keep up-to-date on efforts to clean up after the spill, follow the folks over at Coosa River Basin Initiative.