Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Tennessee Riverkeeper Files Notice of Intent to Sue Wastewater Treatment Plant

Tennessee Riverkeeper Files Notice of Intent to Sue Wastewater Treatment Plant

Tennessee Riverkeeper

Henagar Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant. Photo by David Whiteside.

Tennessee Riverkeeper has mailed notice of intent to sue the City of Henagar, Alabama over the operation of the Henagar Industrial Park Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Tennessee 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.

Kayaker on South Sauty Creek. Photo by Jeremy Adkins.

Fish eliminate methylmercury slowly, 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.

Visit EcoWatch's WATER page for more related news on this topic.

 

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less
Woodpecker

Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.

Read More Show Less