PCBs are Forever

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Last year, I shared my “origin story.” Where my passion for the Coosa and fight for the natural world intersected in a ditch arguing with my dad about wanting to splash in it. He said it’d make it sick. Well, Dad… you were right. 

Last Thursday, Coosa Riverkeeper spoke on behalf of the river and people like you to the EPA’s Contaminated Soil Technical Advisory Group (CSTAG) about the Anniston PCB Site. 
In this virtual meeting, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, Solutia, a couple of technical experts, and Coosa Riverkeeper presented for 20 minutes to CSTAG on the ways the impacted waterways are used, the role of institutional controls (e.g. fish consumption advisories), and recommendations for the site. In addition to the presenters an a few local Community Advisory Group members, there were representatives from ADEM, ADPH, and DCNR in the audience of more than 60 individuals from across the country.  

The last meeting of this kind was in 2005 and after reviewing the documents and recommendations from 15 years ago, it is evident that more aggressive action needs to be taken to protect our river and the families who use it. 

Our Presentation Covered:

 -How Choccolocco Creek & Logan Martin Lake are used

– How our current fish consumption advisory program fails to educate the public (e.g. no permanent signs, language, literacy barriers)

-The lake and creek’s economic impact on the region

– We highlighted other PCB remediation successes from around the country

-Presented concerns/questions for the CSTAG committee as they deliberate and make recommendations for the Anniston PCB site

-We presented comprehensive recommendations for ways for fish consumption advisory information to be better presented and shared with the public as well as FULL soil remediation in OU4 (Choccolocco Creek & Logan Martin embayment)  

To improve water quality, fish consumption advisories, and public health the contaminated soil must be fully removed and remediated!

Did you know that Anniston is the first place that Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were ever commercially manufactured?
 
During manufacturing, Monsanto (now called Solutia), flushed tens of thousands of pounds of PCBs into nearby creeks, specifically tributaries of Choccolocco Creek, and buried it in landfills. They produced PCBs at the Anniston plant until 1971, 8 years before PCBs were banned by the federal government. Studies show PCBs are known carcinogens, cause reproductive issues, and neurological dysfunction… and are present today in fish tissue in areas of the Coosa and for the foreseeable future.
 

PCBs are a FOREVER chemical.

LEARN MORE

2 WAYS TO HELP

Until the public comment period opens in 2021, please consider learning more about this issue and our work to protect anglers/families across east Alabama:
 
1. Read our blog post about the history of PCBs in the Coosa 
 
2. Learn more about the EPA’S Contaminated Sediment Technical Advisory Group 
 
3. Check out the fish consumption advisories on the Coosa and learn more about our Fish Guide program
1. Send us your pictures! If you fish, boat, swim, paddle, etc on Choccolocco Creek or near it on Logan Martin Lake, send us a picture of you enjoying the area. We need to show the people in this meeting the faces of the folks like you who rely on the river for fun and for supper.
 
2. Consider making a $10 donation to support this work! Visit CoosaRiver.org and click Donate to make your tax deductible contribution today!

Ask yourself this: why should local landowners, municipalities, and families suffer in the near, short, and long-term to cater to the cost-effectiveness of full sediment remediation of a known carcinogen?

As the process moves along, we will keep you updated on when we will need your help, specifically during the public comment period– until then, we will do our absolute best to speak for the river and the folks like you who love it… you can count on us to keep you in the loop! CSTAG said we should receive their recommendations based on this meeting in six weeks.