In April, 3M reported to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management that it was discharging chemicals that are illegal to put into water. But records show that the state of Alabama had been alerted for years and did not stop the continued release of the toxic chemical into the Tennessee River.
Tyson bought American Proteins for a reported $850 million last year, when the chicken giant brought in $40 billion in revenue – the gross domestic product of the entire country of Jordan.
If Tyson were fined a million dollars it would add up to .003 percent of its income – the equivalent of a cup of coffee for a guy who makes $100,000 a year. Nothing.
Honestly, we are to the point now that we’re probably worse off with ADEM than without. We should take the money that we’re apparently wasting on that staff and give it to the various Riverkeeper groups around Alabama. Hell, they find half of the problems, and provide much more honest and thorough reports, and do a much better job notifying the general public of problems than ADEM ever has.
Chris Greene with the state fisheries department says their conservative estimate is that 175,000 fish were killed.
He called the incident “significant” and said it will take some time to replenish the river.
Locals are calling on Tyson Foods, which owns the company that spilled this waste water, to clean up their operations.
The Mulberry Fork has experienced a massive fish kill over the past few days. Tyson Foods’ River Valley ingredients plant had a large wastewater spill on Thursday, leaving residents to find hundreds of dead fish floating downstream.
Hillary McKnight stomped along the banks of Aldridge Creek in Huntsville, Alabama on a cloudy March morning, trying to scare off snakes before she picked up a plastic water bottle on the water’s edge.
It was her second creek cleanup in two weeks after learning the bottles break down over time into microplastics — tiny plastic pieces less than 5 millimeters in length — that pollute waterways. Conservation group Tennessee Riverkeeper organized the event as part of their campaign to respond to growing concerns over plastic pollution in Southeastern waterways. A 2018 study identified the Tennessee River as one of the most heavily polluted by plastics in the world.
The Coosa Riverkeeper, a watchdog organization that monitors water quality along the Coosa’s 220-mile path through Alabama, spoke out after the utility last week was fined $250,000 for pollutants found in groundwater near the Gadsden Ash Pond on the banks of the river.
“We firmly believe that leaving the ash to sit in an unlined pit and pollute the nearby groundwater for decades to come is irresponsible,” said Justinn Overton, the Riverkeeper’s executive director.
Coal ash is a by-product created when coal is burned for electricity. Plant Gadsden stopped burning coal in March 2015 and finished closing the pond in 2018, implementing monitoring wells it committed to checking for pollutants.
“East and northeast Alabama have a lot of great places to fish, especially the redeye bass,” he said. “Redeye bass are endemic to Alabama, which means they don’t live anywhere else. These fish like current in cool Piedmont streams with a lot of flow. They like clean water. This river is so clean, and it has so much oxygen in the water that these fish live in the shoals on this big river.
“Redeye bass are our own version of trout fishing, but I think it’s cooler than that because the redeyes are native. They are colorful, very aggressive and eager to eat. I think this is something really special for Alabama to have in our waters.”
The Cahaba Blueway has dedicated 10 new canoe and kayak launching sites and swimming access points along the Cahaba River in Mountain Brook, Irondale, Trussville and other locations.
“The Cahaba River has always been a recreational outlet in our community, but you have to be a local person who is familiar with the area to know where those access points are,” said Brian Rushing, program coordinator for the Cahaba Blueway.
In efforts to heighten awareness of the river as an outstanding recreation- al asset for tourism, the Cahaba Blueway Society partnered with the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development to provide new infrastructure and information outlets.
An Alabama federal judge has ruled that Drummond Company is violating the Clean Water Act at its Maxine Mine site by continuously discharging acid mine drainage into the Black Warrior River’s Locust Fork. In an order issued May 7, Judge Abdul Kallon rejected Drummond’s arguments that the Clean Water Act does not apply to ongoing pollution originating from a substantial coalmine waste pile left when mining operations ceased.
The lawsuit was filed in 2016 by Black Warrior Riverkeeper, represented by SELC and Public Justice. This week’s ruling granted Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s motion for summary judgment seeking to hold Drummond liable for these discharges. Additional liability claims by Black Warrior Riverkeeper, as well as the determination of an appropriate remedy for the site, will be determined later at trial.
Last week, the Birmingham City Council unanimously passed a resolution to oppose Cahaba Beach Road, a proposed project which would allow the Alabama Department of Transportation to build a road and bridge through the heart of an undeveloped area that safeguards Birmingham’s drinking water.
Along with numerous conservation organizations, local communities and elected officials, SELC and partners Cahaba River Society and Cahaba Riverkeeper have expressed serious concerns about the project’s harm to drinking water quality for the Birmingham region.
Lagging behind neighboring states for decades, Alabama has gone through multiple droughts without a water management plan to help conserve water and protect the state’s rivers and streams during times of scarcity. The lack of a plan also puts Alabama at a disadvantage as the state navigates through competing water demands.
After years of advocating for a comprehensive plan and participating in the AWAWG focus panels, SELC and Alabama Rivers Alliance have been anxiously awaiting the release of the report to help inform leadership at the state level and provide guidelines for good water stewardship and protection. But discernable progress toward a plan has been slow, and appeared to be further hindered when the current governor announced plans to disband the AWAWG late last year. Governor Kay Ivey’s decision put the responsibility of developing a plan back on the Alabama Office of Water Resources and the Alabama Water Resources Commission.
Did you know that nearly one million pounds of toxic chemicals are dumped into the Coosa River each year? Nearly 95% of that waste comes from two Koch Foods chicken processing plants near Gadsden in the form of nitrate compounds. Excessive nitrogen pollution stimulates the growth of aquatic plants, weeds and algae, which fishermen and lake goers alike know grow in excess on Coosa River lakes. Too much nitrogen in drinking water can also be harmful to young children and livestock.
When looking at the most harmful chemicals though, the Gaston Steam Plant in Wilsonville and the Resolute Forest Products Coosa Pines paper mill in Childersburg outpace others. In fact, Alabama Power’s Gaston Steam Plant released three times as much developmental toxins to the river, at 473 pounds, as all the other facilities in the basin combined.
The Mobile River System — which includes every stream that flows into Mobile Bay, from the Cahaba, Coosa, and Tallapoosa in the north part of the state, to the Tombigbee, Alabama and the rivers of the Delta in the southern part – has been named one of the ten most endangered river systems in the country.
In announcing the listing, the conservation group American Rivers cites the system’s claim to fame as America’s Amazon, a reference to the film and AL.com series of the same name, which both highlighted the exceptional diversity of plants and animals in and around these rivers. Thanks primarily to the life in these rivers, Alabama ranks number one in the nation for the number of aquatic species, including fish, turtles, mussels, crawfish and snails.
Some call it a boon to industrial development and commercial trade in Alabama and Mississippi.
Others say it’s a boondoggle, a waste of two billion taxpayer dollars that cost farmers their land and animals their habitat.