MALVERN, Ark. – After a lengthy investigation, state officials and the EPA found toxins were released into a Malvern creek, causing concerns for wildlife and possibly those who live nearby.
According to Hot Spring County Emergency Management, the issue was brought to their attention in August of last year. Those living in Malvern believe it’s started long before that.
On Thursday, a second public meeting was held at the Greater New Hope Baptist Church in Malvern for the community where city and county officials were present.
Hot Springs County Emergency Management Director Randy Greathouse said that after he recognized the issue, a report was submitted to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.
ADEQ determined that the toxins released into the Chatman Creek were released by Anthony Timberlands Inc.
Chatman Creek flows into the Ouachita River and has been contaminated with hydraulic oil which Greathouse said is putting metals in the water.
Greathouse said the creek runs about eight miles and it won’t be a quick fix. He said it could take months or possibly years.
Several farmers have mentioned they have lost some livestock because of the issue.
“It’s killing trees. It’s killing fish. Its killing cattle in our communities,” a frustrated resident of Malvern said.
The frustration from many of the people of Malvern at Thursday’s meeting comes from the fact that neither ADEQ nor Anthony Timberlands Inc. were present.
Greathouse said that the Hot Spring County Emergency Management has done all they can.
Now the issue is in the hands of ADEQ as they are in the steps of creating a remediation plan with Anthony Timberland Inc. to come up with a timeframe for cleanup.
One man at the meeting said he feels insulted that these agencies weren’t at the meeting.
“Nobody is here to tell us what’s being done or what’s being planned,” the man said.
Greathouse said ADEQ was present for the first meeting, but Anthony Timberlands Inc. wasn’t, though the company did meet with landowners who were affected.
Anthony Timberland Inc. will shut down starting Jan. 7 and Greathouse said he had no idea how long the shutdown would last.