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Even accidental water pollution can cause significant damage

Numerous industries throughout Georgia work with chemicals and other toxic substances that could have a detrimental impact on the environment. If not handled with care, those items could cause significant water pollution if spilled. This could result in a company encountering issues with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state Environmental Protection Division.

For instance, a chicken plant in Northern Georgia recently found itself on the wrong side of an inquiry from the EPA and EPD when employees accidentally released ferric chloride into a stream behind the plant when they punctured a 55-gallon drum of the compound. All of the fish and other life that called the stream home died. Reports indicate that the company failed to report the incident right away, which further tarnished the company's reputation with locals.

Locals already viewed the company negatively after an elementary school playground near the plant was polluted with runoff from the plant. The EPA and EPD say that the cleanup relating to this latest incident is progressing and testing indicates the stream's water has returned to normal Ph levels, but the company's reputation and relationship with the surrounding community could take much longer to repair. In the meantime, the company says it will implement procedures to ensure this type of accident does not happen again.

Water pollution remains a significant issue here in Georgia, and companies whose operations could cause it may want to thoroughly review all of their processes in order to limit the potential for contamination. More than likely, this review will require a review of EPA and EPD rules, regulations and procedures. Failing to understand these requirements and restrictions could lead to disastrous consequences for the community and the company involved.

Source: dawsonnews.com, "Chemical spill still under investigation, cleanup ongoing", Allie Dean, April 3, 2018

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