Environmentalists claim the Ogeechee River fish kill this week is due to a bacterial disease caused by environmental stress, but don’t yet know what is causing that stress, said Kevin Chambers, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Divison.
The bacterial disease is columnaris, and humans are not known to be affected by this disease, he said.
However, since the cause of the environmental distress is yet unknown, people are still advised to stay out of the river and not consume fish from the river, he said.
The warnings issued cover Bulloch, Bryan, Effingham, Chatham and Screven counties.
“The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD), DNR Wildlife Division, US EPA, US Fish and Wildlife Service, ATSDR, local emergency management agencies and other organizations continue to investigate the recent fish kill and water quality issues in the Ogeechee River,” he said. “ A comprehensive sampling investigation initially began Sunday morning May 22 by state and federal agencies.”
Ogeechee Riverkeeper Dianna Wedincamp said results of tests conducted by her organization have not yet been released. “Our lab techs are not going to release anything until they analyze all the data,” she said.