EPA launches federal investigation into Smyrna creek spill

SMYRNA, Ga. — Nearly two weeks after a chemical spill at Apollo Technologies in Smyrna sent 2,300 gallons of carburetor cleaner into a creek, turning the water that flows through Dana McPherson's neighborhood white, we've confirmed through our sources that the EPA has launched a federal criminal investigation.

"It does affect kids, it does affect property values, it does affect our quality of living," McPherson told Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant.

McPherson expects pictures he took inside the plant the morning of the spill will play a key part in any criminal case against the plant, especially the one picture he took which he says shows a worker hosing the place down as chemicals leaked from the building, sending it all down a drain.%

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"It wasn't a mistake. It was a leak, but when you try to hose a leak down the drain, it's no longer a leak, it's actually trying to get rid of your evidence," McPherson said.

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not contacted us regarding this matter. We have worked closely with the EPA and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) throughout this process and will continue to cooperate fully. We are committed to being transparent. We share the community’s concerns and look forward to resolving this as quickly as possible,” said Geoff Ladue, Chief Operating Officer of PLZ Aeroscience, parent company of Apollo Technologies.

As the feds sort all that out, the state's Environmental Protection Division says the cleanup is complete.
 
"Everything we have seen says this stream is as safe as it has ever been prior to this spill," said EPD Compliance Director Bert Langley.
 
Langley praised Apollo's parent company PLZ Aerospace's aggressive efforts to clean up the creek.
 
Late Thursday afternoon, Diamant obtained the results of the latest downstream water samples taken Wednesday by the Chattahoochee River Keeper.
 
They show naphthalene levels at just 16 parts per billion, well below the low 30's level EPD considers safe.
 
"In the real world, that's a win," Langley told Diamant.
 
Still, even as the company continues to make major improvements to the plant and containment safeguards, it's not off the hook with the state.
 
"We're going to focus on how can we be sure it doesn't occur in the future. There will almost certainly be an order and penalty imposed on the company for this spill," Langley said.