Violations at KAF Are Result of Stricter Permit

Violations at KAF Are Result of Stricter Permit

For Immediate Release

January 20, 2015

Contact: Emily Markesteyn, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, emily@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org, 866-942-6222

Violations at King America Finishing Are Result of Stricter Permit

SAVANNAH, GA – A strict, enforceable NPDES wastewater discharge permit for King America Finishing (KAF), a textile facility in Screven County, is the basis for a recent Consent Order between the facility and Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD). Because KAF violated limitations established within the permit, EPD fined the facility $150,000 and is requiring them to take corrective action to resolve toxicity and fecal coliform issues in its effluent. KAF was purchased by Milliken & Company, a South Carolina based group, in the summer of 2014.

It is important to note that the violations were restricted to conditions in the wastewater on-site at the facility. Conditions in the river remained in compliance with the terms of KAF’s NPDES permit throughout the period covered in the Consent Order.

Ogeechee Riverkeeper (ORK) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to clean water in the Ogeechee River and its tributaries. The improved permit was a major component of the settlement of a lawsuit Ogeechee Riverkeeper brought against KAF for violations of the Clean Water Act.

The settlement, which was finalized in early 2014, dictated lower discharge limits for, among other things, sulfides and a numerical limit for fecal coliform. “King America Finishing is being held accountable for their actions, due in large part to the terms of the new permit, which are much stricter and more specific than either the previous permit or the one proposed in 2013 by the State of Georgia” stated Emily Markesteyn, Ogeechee Riverkeeper and Executive Director, “In addition, there is much more open communication and transparency between Milliken, EPD and the public.”

Ogeechee Riverkeeper and their experts have been monitoring the data for the wastewater discharge, which is published online, and analyzing the violations with Milliken representatives and KAF employees. Ongoing discussions have resulted in strategies to improve plant operations. “This situation shows us that while previous changes such as the media filtration system improved the facility’s operations and environmental impacts, more work is needed to ensure KAF’s discharge is suitable,” explains Markesteyn, “and all parties are committed to seeing this occur.”

King America Finishing is also required to monitor and report water quality conditions in the Ogeechee River, none of which showed violations over the past year. Ogeechee Riverkeeper is also keeping tabs on the water quality of the river through in-house and volunteer water testing.

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Ogeechee Riverkeeper is dedicated to protecting, preserving and improving the water quality of the Ogeechee River Basin. To accomplish this goal, Ogeechee Riverkeeper strives to amplify the voices of concerned citizens and strengthen their efforts to protect their rivers and their communities. www.ogeecheeriverkeeper.org