Environmental regulators have fined a company tens of thousands of dollars for polluting the North Fork Holston River.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has ordered Vulcan Construction Materials to pay a $30,000 civil penalty plus $9,542 for damages.
TDEC launched an investigation after the agency received a complaint in July 2018 about “a milky white discoloration” observed on the river near the company’s Kingsport quarry.
In August, investigators determined that an estimated 3,217 cubic feet of limestone particles had seeped into and accumulated in the river, an amount TDEC calls “severe.” Officials observed limestone deposits up to 15 inches deep.
TDEC performed a habitat assessment upstream but were unable to perform an assessment in the affected area.
“However, due to the significant sediment accumulation at the discharge points, no available habitat remained and a habitat assessment could not be performed within the impacted stream,” TDEC states.
In addition to the fines, TDEC has also ordered Vulcan to complete tasks outlined in a corrective action plan and perform inspections monthly and after every rain event. The corrective action plan includes a process for removing sediment from the river.
Vulcan Materials issued this statement:
On August 3, 2018, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued a Notice of Violation to Vulcan Materials Company for accidental unpermitted discharge of limestone fines into the Holston River from its Kingsport Quarry. Since that time, Vulcan has worked closely with TDEC, outside consultants, and its own internal experts, to identify and correct the source of limestone fines transported to the river.
Vulcan Materials Company takes pride in being a good steward of the environment and consistently strives to obey all laws and regulations to their fullest at all of their operations.