• info@wildcumberland.org
  • PO Box 872 Scottdale, GA 30079
Ear to the Sand
Toxic waters lurk beneath Port of St. Marys proposal

Toxic waters lurk beneath Port of St. Marys proposal

A developer is planning to build a barge port at the former Gilman Paper Mill site along the St. Marys River across from Cumberland Island. The plans call for a barge dock and ship berths along with railroad facilities. Regular dredging would likely be required for the St. Marys River, which would have a significant and lasting impact on aquatic life.

The 700-acre site is contaminated with a toxic legacy of carcinogens and heavy metals, including chromium, barium, vanadium, polychlorinated biphenyl, and mercury. If the port is constructed, these toxic chemicals would be released downstream into the waters surrounding Cumberland Island.

Developer Chris Ragucci has not offered any information about clean-up plans. His company Port of St. Marys LLC has applied for a zoning change that would help move the port proposal forward.

Please encourage the City of St. Marys to require that a comprehensive clean-up proposal be submitted by developers and vetted by experts before the site can be considered for rezoning.  The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers will also be involved in approving or denying the proposed port, which would be Georgia’s third deepwater port.



1 thought on “Toxic waters lurk beneath Port of St. Marys proposal

    • Author gravatar

      Dear Officials of the City of St. Mary’s,

      The value of having a natural area such as Cumberland Island in your vicinity outweighs the need for this port. The world continues to shrink. Natural and wild areas that are close to high population areas like southeastern Georgia are rare indeed. Please give Cumberland Island some breathing room and don’t rezone the Gilman Paper Mill Site. Last month, my two sons and I visited St. Mary’s and found a very special place. We enjoyed the quiet and wildness of the area surrounding St. Mary’s. We long to return.

      Ralph, Amory and Patrick

Leave a Reply