St. Simons Sound, Altamaha River make Georgia Water Coalition’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ list -- again

A few local waterways, including the St. Simons Sound, have made the 2020 “Dirty Dozen” list released by the Georgia Water Coalition.

A big reason why the St. Simons Sound has made the list, which focuses on 12 issues this year, is because of the Golden Ray, the cargo ship that has been overturned for more than a year and that the Georgia Water Coalition says has released oil and pollutants into the water.

“It’s important to know that it doesn’t mean that it’s the most polluted area in Georgia. What it means is that the policy that is being established in the water body, because of this problem, could be detrimental to the rest of the state,” said Fletcher Sams with the Altamaha Riverkeeper.

The request is simple: The Georgia Water Coalition wants a damage assessment done in the St. Simons Sound.

“The simple fact is we don’t know how much damage was done and we don’t know what we need to do to fix it,” Sams said.

READ: Georgia Water Coalition’s 2020 Dirty Dozen report

This is the second year the St. Simons Sound has been on the “Dirty Dozen” list for the state of Georgia, but the Altamaha River has been on the list eight times, breaking a record.

A pulp mill sits along the Altamaha River and, for years, there have been issues with color and odor seeping into the water, according to the Georgia Water Coalition.

“We just want them to come in line with their competitors around the world and, as of right now, they are not,” Sams said.

The goal of the list is to bring light to the biggest risks to public policy and its effects on the environment

The Georgia Water Coalition wants to highlight these issues by educating the community so it can continue to fight to keep waterways clean.

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