Answers Sought After Georgia River Chemical Spill

"Locals clamored for information Saturday, asking state and local authorities what sort of chemicals spilled into the North Oconee River, which turned greenish-blue and began to give off fumes that irritated eyes and throats.

'I want an answer: Is it safe to be in my backyard?' said Carol Myers, whose University Heights home backs up to the North Oconee. 'And they don't know. I need someone with credibility to say, "This is what we are working on, and this is what we will know and when."'

State environmental officials began testing Trail Creek, a North Oconee tributary, after a chemical plant burned Wednesday. Firefighters poured an estimated 1.5 millions gallons of water onto the fire at J&J Chemical Co. off Olympic Drive, washing toxic chemicals such as methanol, para-dichlorobenzene, formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde into the creek.

By Thursday, Trail Creek turned bright blue and foamy, but officials said the dye wasn't dangerous and would break down quickly."

Allison Floyd reports for the Athens Banner-Herald August 1, 2010.

Monday, August 2, 2010