Mon., January 23, 2012 3:00am (EST)

EPD Proposes Strict Permit On Ogeechee
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 3 years ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
A fish kill on the Ogeechee River in Southeast Georgia left thousands of these floating, rotting fish for miles. (photo Ogeechee Riverkeeper)
A fish kill on the Ogeechee River in Southeast Georgia left thousands of these floating, rotting fish for miles. (photo Ogeechee Riverkeeper)
State environmental regulators are proposing stricter limits and more monitoring for a Screven County textile factory being sued over last year's massive fish kill in the Ogeechee River.

The Environmental Protection Division is seeking public comment on a draft permit for King America Finishing.

The permit would allow the company to discharge chemicals such as and formaldehyde into the river.

But EPD Assistant Director Jim Ussery says, there are new proposals that make the draft permit different from the existing one.

"They have to certify annually that they have not changed their process at all," Ussery says. "So this will be one of the the tightest permits in the state, probably the tightest permit in the state."

The permit also would account for river droughts.

"When they are drought times or periods when the river flow is lower, then you don't get to discharge as much," Ussery says. "So, the permit will ensure that what happened last summer won't happen again."

The fish kill last May was the largest in the state's history, killing an estimated 33,000 fish and spoiling the river.

Area residents claim, it made them sick.