Read the full article by Chloe Vincente (CBS 42)

“SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — If you spend a day out on the Coosa River, it’s easy to see why Alabama is called the River State. Open air, water views for miles, and homes that tempt you to open up Zillow. The river connects to popular Central Alabama summer destinations, like Lay Lake and Logan Martin Lake, and is enjoyed by thousands across the state each year.

Underneath the surface, the river has become a dumping ground for treated sewage, agricultural waste, and industrial waste from companies like Alabama Power.

Coosa Riverkeeper has spent more than a decade fighting the pollution. Riverkeeper Justinn Overton said the environmental group also acts as a watchdog, ensuring the companies permitted to discharge waste into the waterway are doing so legally.

‘It’s unfortunate that we have heavy industry that’s directly discharging into our river system that think they are above the law when they are not,’ Overton explained.

Just this year, the Coosa was named one of the top five most endangered rivers in the nation. Overton said that ranking primarily comes from the industrial agricultural waste in the water.

The Coosa Riverkeeper took part in a national sampling effort for PFAS, or ‘forever chemicals,’ with environmental group Waterkeeper Alliance. Earlier this month, the results came back with high levels out of Neely Henry Lake, a part of the Coosa River. According to the report, one of the chemicals, PFOA, was detected at 4,200 times the amount that is deemed safe.

The CDC describes PFAS as a group of more than 9,000 chemicals used in industry and consumer products. Forever chemicals can cause cancers and other damaging health effects.

The Coosa River serves as the main source of drinking water for several communities like Shelby County and Gadsden. Man charged with shooting 14-year-old brother in Chilton County

We spoke with people fishing at Neely Henry Lake about the recent PFAS results. Carlton Lipscomb has been fishing by the Alabama Power plant on the lake for 35 years. He had no idea there were high levels of chemicals in the water until we told him.” …