A super-polluted Superfund site in Brunswick gets cleanup OK

Dolphins in the Turtle River. Photo by James Holland.

Dolphins in the Turtle River. Photo by James Holland.

Cleanup of one of Georgia’s most toxic and polluted sites passed another hurdle recently when federal authorities, Georgia Power and others agreed to spend an additional $29 million dredging mercury and PCBs from creeks and marsh in Brunswick.

In all, nearly $160 million has been spent remediating the 760-acre site — the largest federally mandated cleanup in Georgia in at least a decade. And more federally mandated remediation is possible in the future, according to federal officials.

Environmentalists, though, say the long-awaited deal, 20 years in the making, fails to adequately clean the Turtle River and its tributaries. They also decry the prevalence of toxic chemicals in dolphins at levels higher than any ever documented.

Glynn County, the gateway to St. Simons, Jekyll and Sea islands, is one of the South’s most polluted communities with 16 hazardous waste sites, including four on the federal Superfund cleanup list. A toxic stew of chemicals, including mercury, petroleum and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, has seeped from the site ever since the Atlantic Richfield Co. opened an oil refinery there in 1918.

Read all about it here.