GA Creek Cleaned Up after Chem Spill

Monday, August 29, 2016 @ 04:08 PM gHale


A creek in Smyrna, GA, that turned white after automotive fluid spilled into it from a nearby plant is now clean, officials said.

Residents in a nearby subdivision called authorities August 13 saying the creek behind their homes had turned milky.

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Investigators found 2,300 gallons of carburetor cleaning fluid leaked into the creek from Apollo Technologies, officials said. The business found a gasket failure on a mixing tank, which has been taken out of service, and a breakdown in the spill retention system caused the leak.

The waterway is an unnamed tributary of Nickajack Creek.

Clean up crews cleared a Smyrna,GA, creek which turned white after a chemical spill.

Clean up crews cleared a Smyrna,GA, creek which turned white after a chemical spill.


“Samples now seem appropriate to cease any further cleanup at that site,” said Bert Langley, director of compliance at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

He said staff removed 500,000 gallons of contaminated water from the creek and moved it to storage tanks at Apollo for disposal or treatment.

Langley said the leak killed several hundred fish. He explained the impact was great because the creek was so small.

“We were able to get to it quickly enough,” he said. “It’s not like it reached all the way to the Chattahoochee.”

Langley said there are quite a few compounds in the fluid, but one of the more concerning ones was naphthalene, which he said is common in cleaners.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says naphthalene smells like mothballs and can be toxic to humans in large doses.

Dawn Harris, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said rains in the Nickajack have decreased the levels of naphthalene.

Apollo posted a letter to the community on its website saying the company hired a consultant to help with the testing and another to help figure out how the spill happened, which includes interviewing employees.