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Chemical fire causes fish kill in Milledgeville creek

The state is warning people not to eat fish caught in Fishing Creek and the Oconee River, near the Zschimmer & Schwarz plant

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — UPDATE: Saturday, 4:33 p.m.

Baldwin County EMA Director Wayne Johnson is advising people not to eat fish caught in the Oconee River in addition to Fishing Creek.

He says the state Environmental Protection Division expanded the warning and is waiting for further testing to be done. 

Original Story: Friday, 6:26 p.m.

A state agency says chemicals from a Milledgeville factory leaked into a nearby creek, and they're warning people not to eat any fish caught there.

On Monday night, Baldwin County crews battled a chemical fire at the Zschimmer & Schwarz Inc. plant on Highway 22.

Now, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division says chemicals from Zschimmer & Schwarz caused a fish kill in Fishing Creek.

By email, EPD spokesman Kevin Chambers said these chemicals were released from the plant during the fire:

  • phosphetal C810-4, a lubricant; 
  • glycol ether DB, a solvent;
  • and sorbitanmonolaurate and sorbitan monooleate, which are used as food additives.

He said some of the chemicals were contained at the factory site, but others washed downstream.

Chambers wrote, "These chemicals have and will continue to dilute, dissolve and biodegrade."

He wrote that, "out of an abundance of caution," the state is recommending that people not eat any fish caught from Fishing Creek, between the Zschimmer & Schwarz and the Oconee River.

According to the company's website, Zschimmer & Schwarz's Milledgeville plant creates chemical products used in leather, ceramics, fibres, textiles and cosmetics.

Chambers said the state is still investigating how many gallons of chemicals leaked into the water and how many fish were killed.

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