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Coors vs. smallmouth

Jim J

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riverkeeper takes Coors & DEQ to task

Most of us are aware that fish in our local waterways have been dying off in record numbers over the past few years. In 2005, 80 percent of the smallmouth bass in the Shenandoah River died of bacterial lesions.


A few weeks ago the DNR ran a short piece stating, “Officials at Coors Shenandoah Brewery in Elkton hope to renew a permit that allows 6 million gallons a day of treated industrial wastewater to be released into the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.”


According to Shenandoah Riverkeeper Jeff Kelble, what is being passed off as a license “renewal” is actually an expansion, which falls under a totally different license category. Since Coors is planning to start actually brewing beer at the Elkton plant (instead of simply rebottling it) output will jump from 2 million gallons to 6 million gallons of industrial waste being dumped into the South Fork per day. As he points out on the Shenandoah Riverkeeper blog, “Coors discharge Outfall 001 is located on a segment of the South Fork of the Shenandoah that the DEQ has determined to be impaired for its designated use of aquatic life,” and “[No permit may be issued] to a new source or a new discharger, if the discharge from its construction or operation will cause or contribute to the violation of water quality standards” under current law.


The point-by-point statement on the blog is quite detailed and technical (perhaps Thanh could shed more light on it) but the gist of it is that the DEQ is letting some standards and regulations slide in the case of this permit.


Kelble emailed the DEQ requesting a public hearing on the matter.


So, the question is: should this permit be granted as-is?



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Tim- follow the link below to find more data:

(As a matter of fact, anyone can find out what is being released into their own watersheds from the link)

SCORE Website


Need to know specifically what Coors is "donating" to the Shenandoah?

Click Here

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