Altamaha Riverkeeper News

ARK Taking Ga. EPD to Court over Rayonier Wastewater Permit


The Altamaha Riverkeeper is seeking to invalidate the state permit allowing Rayonier Advanced Materials to discharge up to 60 million gallons a day of dark, smelly wastewater daily into the Altamaha River in  proceedings that start Friday, June 3, in Atlanta.

Friday’s hearing is the first of four dates scheduled by the Office of Administrative Hearings for ARK’s appeal of the NPDES permit granted to Rayonier AM for effluent discharges from its plant in Jesup. The plant manufactures cellulose products primarily used in cigarette filters, as well as the fluff used in disposable diapers.

ARK’s petition contends that the NPDES permit from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division imposes inadequate restrictions on the plant, despite the plume of water discoloration that often stretches for miles downstream and can be observed in satellite pictures on Google Earth.

The legal and factual issues presented that challenge the validity of the of the EPD permit are state water quality standards for color, odor, and turbidity that interfere with citizens legitimate uses of the river.

Court dates are open to the public and set so far are as follows:

June 3 Hearing in ATL. 225 Peachtree St NW #400 (Note to ARK board members and supporters in Atlanta: Jen Hilburn will not be able to attend this session due to other commitments. She is hoping that Atlanta supporters who are able will attend.)

June 9-10th Hearing in Blackshear – Pierce County Courthouse, 3550 Highway 84, Blackshear, GA 31516

June 13th – 16th  Atlanta  225 Peachtree St. NW #400


There are so many ways that you can help keep our rivers clean and beautiful. Responding to Action Alerts or reaching out to your elected representatives. Find your way to get involved!