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Mixed messages sent on tainted creek

By Walter Geiger The Georgia Environmental Protection Division may have isolated the source of the black, rotting pine scented substance that has fouled a creek that forms in the local industrial park and feeds into Potato Creek. Potato Creek is a source of drinking water for Thomaston which halted pumping last week as a precaution. Late Friday, EPD spokesman Kevin Chambers said an emergency response team had ordered a local industry to halt a runoff discharge that could be the source of the creek pollutant that may have been the cause of a fish kill in late September. Chambers would not identify the industry, however. He said more information may be available today. EPD was closed Monday for Columbus Day. Chambers did, however, quell a rumor that the industry had been shut down. ‘We are not in the business of putting people out of business,’ he said. However, another EPD official had a different message Friday. Emergency environmental specialist Jerry Campbell said Friday there were multiple possible sources of the contaminant in the industrial park which has no sanitary sewer system. ’The colorization thing is the greatest mystery of all. If you have colors, black is usually sewage or something leaching out from a landfill. This small body of water is subject to so many contaminants from so many sources, including businesses in forestry, recycling, aviation and the landfill. We can’t rule out anybody but cannot pinpoint the source. Everybody is a suspect but nobody is a culprit,’ Campbell told the Griffin Daily News. The contamination was first reported by Stephen Browning whose family home is off Hwy. 18 West. The contaminated creek crosses his property just before flowing into Potato Creek. ’We have rock dams out here and the water is black and foamy where it falls over them. It smells terrible. Thomaston’s city manager was here taking samples and he was very upset,’ Browning said last week. He first reported the problem on September 28.

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