Two areas of the Chattahoochee River have made the annual “Dirty Dozen” list compiled by the Georgia Water Coalition, one for the second time.
The list put the Chattahoochee at Peachtree Creek south of Atlanta at No. 7 for the state’s failure to ensure minimum flows and proper monitoring. Last year, the same area was ranked No. 4.
“For more than three decades, (state Environmental Protection Division) has relied on a minimum flow to dilute the wastewater discharges from metro Atlanta’s sewer plants, but has never provided monitoring to assure minimum flows were achieved,” the water coalition said Wednesday. “No has the state agency conducted studies to determine if the minimum flow is adequate to protect the drinking water source for 73 percent of metro Atlanta’s population.”
Making the list for the first year, ranking No. 3, is a prosed reservoir on Flat Creek in Hall County, another tributary to the Chattahoochee.
“This project would divert and impound water that would otherwise fill Lake Lanier, interfering with federal management of the lake and complicating efforts to reach a water sharing agreement with Alabama and Florida,” the coalition said. “While local support has waned recently, Gov. Nathan Deal has indicated that he might come to the rescue with state funds to prop up the floundering project.”
The state, and Deal, are at the root of many of the problems that are putting waterways on the dirty dozen list, officials said Wednesday. The Georgia Water Coalition had hoped creating the list a year ago would help to open a dialogue with the EPD on water issues, and the EPD did talk with the coalition about problems on the Ogeechee River, but hasn’t been receptive to further talks, said April Ingle, executive director of the Georgia River Network.
Deal has appointed 11 people to the EPD board who have ties to organizations the state is trying to regulate, she said.
Ironically, Deal is from Hall County, which has two entries on the dirty dozen list.
“It’s a great opportunity (for Deal) to show how to take a river off this list,” said Sally Bethea, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. “They are significant problems for the environment and the taxpayers.”
Information on the Dirty Dozen may be found at www.garivers.org/gawater.dirtydozen.htm.