Pigeon River Pollution
The Pigeon River flows through North Carolina and right here into East Tennessee. The Pigeon River got its name from an extinct bird, which migrated through the valley of North Carolina. Although, the Pigeon River looks nice, there is something extremely harmful going on inside the river. The long-polluted Pigeon River in Cocke County has not been “fishable” or “swimmable” for over 100 years due to pollution. The river’s water has turned dark brown, and has a terrible odor. The reason behind this beautiful river being polluted is the Blue Ridge Paper Company. The Blue Ridge Paper Company, once part of Champion International Paper, in Canton, North Carolina, is a primary source of Dioxin and matter pollution that has been discharged into the river. Not only has the Blue Ridge Paper Company polluted the water, it gets worse, a couple years ago in 2004, after Hurricane Francis and Hurricane Ivan, several storms and horrible flooding hit the area hard. The flooding, which caused the water level of the river to reach an extreme high level, and also caused part of interstate 40 to collapse into the river’s gorge. Several trees and soil also fell into the water causing much more pollution. No one could have predicted the interstate collapsing into the river due to Mother Nature, but the Blue Ridge Paper Company could certainly do something about the pollution that they are dumping in to the river. The Blue Ridge Paper mill was established in the early 1900’s, and has been operating for 100 years. Advocates challenged the North Carolina Division of Water Quality for a wastewater permit that does not require the proper reductions in thermal discharges being discharged by the paper mill. The permit allows the paper mill to discharge waste into the river that raises the temperature of the water way beyond the standards allowed by the state water quality standards. Due to the extremely high water temperature it is very hard for fish...
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