Riverkeeper says she knows who spilled kaolin into local creek

By: Chad Mills Email
By: Chad Mills Email
Kaolin slurry

A pipe busted and spilled what appears to be tons of what's known as slurry, kaolin in liquid form, near Warren County. (WRDW-TV / Jan. 2, 2012)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Jan. 2, 2012

REEDY CREEK, Ga. -- Bridge after bridge brings the same results -- a chalky white creek and an upset Riverkeeper.

Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus came down to Reedy Creek to see it for herself and take samples, too.

"We saw the effects of an ongoing spill into Reedy Creek of a kaolin mine. A 12-inch line busted, and it is dumping what we believe to be kaolin and surfactin into the creek," she said.

From the Georgia Highway 17 bridge, to the bridge at US-221, over to the bridge on US-1 and to the bridge on Campground Road, there's miles and miles of the creek that's pure white.

"The spill should be largely done, but now the effects will continue downstream over the next couple of days," Bonitatibus said.

She showed us where the pipe busted and leaked tons and tons of what is known as slurry, kaolin in liquid form.

"This one, for sure, 100 percent -- the KaMin plant called it in to EPD, so, yes, it is absolutely their responsibility," she said.

But the EPD tells Bonitatibus it's an ongoing investigation.

"Which is fine, but an ongoing investigation that lasts four months is not appropriate," she said.

They still haven't fined anyone for the spill in October that killed more than 10,000 fish in Brier Creek.

When we left her at 1 p.m. on Monday, she waited at the Farmers Mill Road Bridge over Brier Creek for the tons of kaolin to come downstream.

If you can call it good news, she says there may be no more fish left in that creek to kill.

We did put a call into KaMin, LLC. They were closed Monday.

Kevin Chambers with EPD was out of the office, too.

The Riverkeeper advises that people who pump drinking water from the creek to not drink the water if it's cloudy.

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