Alabama Power Company has agreed to pay $222000 in damages over a chemical spill that killed hundreds of fishes in the Black Warrior River. The damages include $50,000 in civil penalties and $172,046 for the fish kill caused by the spill.
The spill took place nearly 30 miles from Birmingham, affecting the Mulberry Fork area of the river. It was caused by a malfunction at the William C. Gorgas Electric Generating Plant in Parrish. Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) had been investigating the spill and has reached an agreement over the amount of damages with Alabama Power.
The spill itself took place back on March 23 earlier this year. The company reported the spill the next day. However, the fish kill caused by the spill was not reported to the authorities until a few days later. It was on May 29 that a fisherman noticed the dead fish and notified ADEM. ADEM fish kill investigators than reached the plant to look into the incident.
Initially, the plant personnel refused the investigators access without their state identification. When the investigators returned with their identification two hours later, the plant personnel had allegedly removed a number of dead fish from the water. In its final report, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reported that 503 fish have been found killed as a result of the incident. However, the department has also stated that this is a conservative estimate.
Alabama Power spokespersons have admitted that dead fish was removed from water by the plant personnel. However, they say, this was done to prevent what appeared like a hazard to human health. Environmentalists, on the other hand, have cited the fine as a mere wrist on the slap for the power company.
If you were affected by the chemical spill, contact us for help today.
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