News Feature | November 24, 2014

Environmental Group Names 'Dirty Dozen' List Of Water Offenses

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

The Georgia Water Coalition, an environmental group, recently released a "dirty dozen" list, enumerating the 12 biggest offenses to Georgia's water quality.

"The Dirty Dozen shines a spotlight on pending threats to Georgia’s water as well as state policies and failures that ultimately harm—or could harm—Georgia property owners, downstream communities, fish and wildlife, hunters and anglers, and boaters and swimmers," the group says.

The list names "the state’s worst polluters, taking particular aim at state policymakers for what it called poor oversight and a lack of political will to enforce existing environmental protections," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provided a breakdown of the list. It names what's under threat and how:

1. Georgia’s water, because of state policy.

2. Georgia’s coastal and freshwater wetlands, because of decisions by the state Environmental Protection Division that the group said loosen regulation of clean water laws.

3. Floridan Aquifer on Georgia’s coast, because of the state’s plans to explore injecting treated surface water into an underground storage area.

4. Chattahoochee River, because the reason’s primary drinking water source is under stress from stormwater runoff.

5. Coosa River, related to Georgia Power’s use of river water at the coal-powered Plant Hammond near Rome.

6. Flint River, related to state policy and fabrics manufacturer TenCate’s legal method of spraying treated wastewater over land near the Flint and area creeks.

7. Savannah River, because of depleted oxygen levels that threaten wildlife.

8. Georgia’s small streams and wetlands, which would fall under proposed rules about which bodies of water should be covered under the federal Clean Water Act.

9. Withlacoochee River, which is near where a proposed natural gas pipeline would run through nine Georgia counties as it winds its way from Alabama to central Florida.

10. Turtle River, which is near Brunswick and a toxic site from the long-closed LCP Chemicals plant that is still riddled with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), caustic soda, mercury and lead.

11. Satilla River at Waycross, which has seen the effects of industrial sites including the Seven Out industrial waste facility — deemed a Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

12. Little Satilla Creek and Penholloway Creek near Jesup, because of the DuPont Company’s proposed mining operation affecting nearby residents and local wetlands.

"Coalition members emphasized the list was not a collection of the most polluted sites in Georgia, but a list of the most important topics for the year," the Daily Tribune News reported.

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