Hercules Put on Priority List for Clean Up
In 1995, Hercules was placed on an EPA list of 1714 facilities Nationwide,
65 in Georgia, which were identified as a priority for cleanup. The program
was called the Government Performance Results Act (GPRA) and had two goals,
get current human exposures and migration of contaminated groundwater under
control. After 10 years, Hercules is one of the four in Georgia not to
achieve control of either current human exposures or migration of
Don’t Disturb Your
Hercules’ record of disturbing its neighbors is well documented, and speak
to the problem better than I possibly could. The following are excerpts from
actual complaints received by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
- 10:00 AM I received phone complaint from Mr. Ethridge Assistant Principal
Burroughs Molette reporting 2 teachers sick to stomach and possible effects
on special needs (total 29) children; several non-verbal.
– Dimethyl sulfide leak was located and was being repaired.
– Odor in air late Monday around 5 PM. She became very ill, dizzy,
vomiting, could not breath. Went to fire station. They had to give her
– Referred caller to Air Protection Branch in Atlanta.
– Hercules, periodically and at night, kicks out enough smoke to trip smoke
alarms in complainant’s house. Has to turn off alarms. Has called Hercules
once regarding the issue. Problem periodic for last 2.5 years.
– None reported.
– Relating to the incidents of the previous few days where Hercules has
released Dowtherm. It has resulted in stinging throat and lungs and a bloody
nose in one person. Caller very concerned it would happen again.
- Release of Dowtherm, 2,000 lbs. and 1,000 lbs. the following day.
– … from Brunswick Environmental Health about a reported strong sulfur
odor around Burroughs-Molette Elementary School.
– Fugitive release during a crude turpine sulfate filter change. Asked
Hercules to submit letter outlining activity in the mill that day.
– Husband a patient in S.E. Georgia Medical Center (local hospital). While
visiting husband, eyes became irritated, as well as patient. Hospital
maintenance crew advised common occurrence, allegedly from ambient air
emissions from Hercules, enters hospital, causes such symptoms.
– Georgia EPD speculates it is from hospital construction activities.
There are many other similar complaints which have been made about the
Hercules Plant. What is so surprising is how often a citizen complaint
results in Hercules going out into the plant and finding a leak, which leads
Do Not Endanger Others
The frequency of chemical releases and spills at the Hercules Plant should
be a safety concern to all in our community. Since 1990, the Hercules Plant
has had at least 170 reports of spills or releases to the Emergency Response
Team. Compared to the Pulp Mill’s 55 reports of spills or releases,
Hercules has an accident about three times as often. It is not the number
that is important – it is the amount and toxicity of the chemical released.
The releases at the Hercules plant are overall larger and the chemicals more
Hercules a good neighbor?
Each of us must decide if Hercules has been a good neighbor and expectations
of each person will be different. As for myself, I expect Hercules to clean
up after making a mess, don’t disturb their neighbors, and don’t endanger
others. Efforts to do otherwise is not being a good neighbor.
See related article:
Hercules: A Viable Company?