Lawsuit announced against alleged Flint River polluter

Upson County landowners and the Flint Riverkeeper announced Thursday an impending lawsuit against a Molena factory that they say pollutes the river and its tributaries.

TenCate Protective Fabrics, which makes protective gear for firefighters, soldiers and oil refinery workers about an hour south of Atlanta, was served with a 60-day notice of intent to sue, a Clean Water Act provision intended to get federal regulators, and the company, to resolve the matter.

The riverkeeper alleges that TenCate, a dyeing and finishing plant, discharges salts, nitrate, arsenic, chromium, and other pollutants into Spring and Elkins creeks, as well as the Flint, in Upson County.

The company declined to comment on the possible lawsuit. In a statement, TenCate said “it remains committed to conducting its business activities in compliance with the laws that protect our communities and environment in which we live and work.”

The nearly 350-mile long Flint flows south through cotton and peanut country before reaching the Florida border where it joins the Chattahoochee River to form the Apalachicola River.

“We are disappointed that we had to pursue this first step toward litigation, but we are committed to protecting this vital river basin,” said riverkeeper Gordon Rogers.

The lawsuit will seek an injunction prohibiting discharges, as well as financial penalties.

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