Meeting Summary: Coosa-North Georgia Council January 19, 2017

To: Coosa‐North Georgia (CNG) Water Planning Council

From: Becky Champion, GA EPD; Doug Baughman, CH2M HILL

Subject: Meeting Summary: Joint CNG and Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (Metro District) Joint Meeting /Review and Revision Process (Council Meeting 3) on January 19, 2017

Doug Baughman introduced Chairman David Ashburn. The Chairman welcomed the group to the meeting. Time was taken for council members, the planning contractor, and observers to introduce themselves. Chairman Ashburn reminded attendees of the sign‐up sheet for public comments.Welcome and Introductions

Doug Baughman reviewed the meeting objectives:

  • Update on planning process and schedule
  • Review Final Water Demand and Wastewater Flow Forecasts
  • Review Resource Assessment Results
  • Exchange information with the Metro District members
  • Discuss approach to complete plan revisions

Update on Planning Process and Schedule

Jennifer Welte with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD) summarized the remaining schedule for the regional water plan updates.

Schedule Updates for water planning process.

  • Draft updated Regional Water Plans completed on or before March 31, 2017.
  • Public Notice period (45 days) from March 31 to May 15.
  • Councils review comments and finalize updated Regional Water Plans by around June 15, 2017.

She noted that the draft updated Metro District Plan is currently available for review and that the Metro District has requested Council input by February 17, 2017.

Summary of Final Water Demand and Wastewater Flow Forecasts

Brian Skeens (CH2M HILL) presented the final updated forecast results for water demand and wastewater flow. The water demand summary included water demands from all sectors, including agricultural, energy, industrial, and municipal water demands forecast results, as well as the industrial and municipal wastewater forecast results. The following discussion and questions took place during the presentation:

Question: What methodology was used for wastewater flow?

  • Answer: The same assumptions regarding septic systems were used in this round as in last round. Brian referred the group to the supplemental documents from Round 1. Industrial water and wastewater projections are unchanged from Round 1.

Brian also noted that energy withdrawals are primarily from Plant Hammond. He noted that withdrawals for power are going down but consumption is projected to go up due to the change in fuel source and related cooling technologies that are projected to change over time.

Agricultural Demand Forecasts –

Question: What does “Throw vs /no throw” mean in the agricultural water demand summary?

  • Answer: The term ”throw” refers to the end guns on center pivot agriculture irrigation systems that serves to extend the irrigation equipment.

Question: Two Council members asked about the agricultural demands and how they related to the permitted agricultural withdrawals. They suggested that the Plan needs to consider the permitted withdrawals for agriculture.

  • Answer: Brian indicated that the current version of the Council’s Plan shows permitted agricultural acreage and that information can be updated in the updated plan.

Groundwater Availability Assessment Results

Jennifer Welte presented the groundwater availability resource assessment results. The following discussion and questions took place during the presentation:

Question: Does the groundwater resource assessment take springs into account?

  • Answer: Per post‐meeting input from Dr. Jim Kennedy (GA EPD), the groundwater availability resource assessment incorporated available information regarding known groundwater springs.

Surface Water Availability Resource Assessment Results

Hailian Liang with GA EPD presented the updated surface water availability resources assessment results. The following discussion and questions took place during the presentation:

Question: In the assessment of future conditions, how are the returns to surface water determined?  Are current returns held constant, or shat other assumptions are used?

  • Answer: The returns are not held constant; the returns that are incorporated into the future conditions are based upon the future conditions forecast information, and are influenced over time by population projections.

Question: A Council member asked about how the updated surface water availability resource assessment differs from the prior assessment.

  • Answer: While no major assumptions were changed from the prior assessment, updated models were incorporated, the unimpaired flow dataset was extended, and better information on water use (including agricultural metering program data) were incorporated into the updated assessment.  In addition, it was noted that the extension of the modeling period incorporated an additional, more recent and more pronounced drought period.

Hailian noted that the difference in the updated potential gap information at the Gayles node is due to updated demands. The Gayles node is located on the Chattooga River, upstream from Lake Weiss.

Doug asked Hailian to summarize the surface water availability resource assessment results, as expressed by the potential gaps:

  • The updated surface water availability resource assessment showed changes in potential gaps at the Chickamauga, New England, and Gayles nodes. The potential gap at the New England node was reduced. Potential gaps at the Chickamauga (from 1 to 5%) and Gayles (from 2 to 3%) nodes increased slightly from the initial (2010) modeling analysis.

Water Quality Resource Assessment Results

Dr. Liz Booth (GA EPD) presented the water quality resources assessment results. The following discussion and questions took place during the presentation:

Question: A Council member asked if wastewater discharges incorporated into the models were based on permit limits.

  • Answer: Yes, discharges from wastewater facilities were modeled under their allowable permit limits to ensure protection of water quality standards.

Question: Danny Johnson (Metro District) asked about the methodology for analyzing nitrogen levels for Lake Lanier.

  • Answer – Liz indicated that the modeling assumed that nutrient reductions currently under contemplation were incorporated in the modeling analysis. GA EPD is currently analyzing inputs to Lake Lanier and how those inputs might be addressed through a draft TMDL for Lake Lanier.

Question: Ernie Earn (Metro District) asked about potential new nitrogen limits in permits.

  • Answer: Liz noted that any new nitrogen limits would be developed in contemplation of nitrogen levels on a growing season average.

Doug and Liz noted that there may need to be additional management practices upstream of Lanier to reduce nonpoint sources as land use changes over time (becomes more urban) to meet the nutrient loadings in any future TMDL.

Liz suggested that additional nonpoint source controls may be needed for water quality maintenance in the lakes. The goal would be to make sure nonpoint source loadings from land use do not increase as urbanization occurs.

Metro District Coordination

Danny Johnson provided an overview of the Metro District draft Plan and its status. The following discussion and questions took place during the presentation:

Danny reviewed the key changes and the outline of the draft Plan.

Question: A Council member asked how the requirements in Metro District Plan are enforced, particularly in smaller cities.

Answer: The law establishing the Metro District was passed before the law establishing the other water planning regions and it requires that all the counties and cities in the Metro District to comply with the recommendations in the Metro District plan. These local governments (counties and cities) get audited approximately every five years and have to demonstrate substantial compliance with the plan to receive permits from GA EPD.

Doug and Chairman Ashburn also highlighted differences between the Metro District and the other regional water planning councils.

Question: A Council member asked if data collected by entities within the Metro District are used by EPD or the Metro District.

  • Answer: Danny responded that the Metro District collects data from their member counties and cities and hires a contractor to combine that data for use in the Metro District Plan. Much of that same data is also provided by the counties and cities themselves to EPD.

Brooke Anderson noted that there are still large parts/municipalities of CNG region that have no idea that the CNG council exists or that there is a plan for water resource management.

Chairman Ashburn added that the council has no way to enforce/push a response and the council struggles to implement the plan on a county by county basis.

There was more discussion on the difference between the Metro District and the council set‐ ups. Overall the agreement was that the Councils outside of the Metro District lack the ability to enforce plan implementation or to get data they need from counties.

Chairman Ashburn and Brooke Anderson presented an overview of the North Georgia Water Resources Partnership (Partnership) and the various studies currently underway. The following discussion and questions took place during the presentation:

  • The Partnership formed, and later was identified to serve as a technical arm to the CNG Council. One function of the Partnership is to pursue grant opportunities that align with CNG Council goals and management practices.
  • Brooke summarized the Partnership’s studies on agricultural water use, nutrient trading, and interconnectivity.

Danny Johnson lead a discussion regarding the forthcoming Lake Lanier TMDL and loading reduction opportunities and noted there will be a need for future coordination on nonpoint source load reductions in the counties in the CNG region that are in the Lake Lanier watershed.

Next Steps

  • Gap Analysis – A Council subcommittee will meet during the afternoon portion of the next Partnership meeting scheduled for February 8. The subcommittee will review the gap information and related edits to management practices, and then report back to the full Council at their next meeting.
  • Council Meeting 4 will be held in late February or early March to review revisions and finalize a draft updated Plan.
  • Council Meeting 5 will be held during the Partnership’s annual Educational Seminar, which will be held at the Tellus Museum on May 3, 2017.
  • An additional Council meeting will be held (if needed) to address public comments and input from EPD on the draft updated Plan.
  • Danny Johnson requested to add language to the updated CNG Plan that recognizes the upcoming Lake Lanier TMDL.

During the public comment period, Jennifer Welte noted that Miller Well Drilling wanted to submit comments to the Council, and she will follow up with their representative after the meeting to collect any of their comments.

Chairman Ashburn noted that fracking was to be discussed during the February 8th Partnership meeting that begins at 11:00 AM. The meeting will be held at the City of Calhoun Utilities department, 700 West Lions Street, Calhoun, GA.

Wrap Up / Council Meeting Evaluation

Doug Baughman asked council members to complete the post‐meeting evaluation survey. Chairman Ashburn adjourned the meeting.

Coosa – North Georgia Water Planning Council, January 19, 2017 CM#3

Members Present

  1. David Ashburn
  2. Brooke Anderson
  3. Jerry Barnes
  4. Mike Berg
  5. Greg Bowman
  6. Keith Coffey
  7. Jerry Crawford
  8. Haynes Johnson
  9. Larry Lykins
  10. Tom O’Bryant
  11. Sandy Sparks
  12. Irving Bagwell
  13. John Bennett

Elected Officials

  1. None in attendance.

Partnering & Other State Agencies

  1. Ethan Calhoun/Northwest GA Regional Council
  2. Robbie Irwin/Dawson County
  3. Clark Anderson/Groundwater Process Representative
  4. Carlton Sherrer/Freeze and Nichols
  5. G. Richie Mullen/GA Forestry
  6. John Boyd/City of Rome
  7. Mike Hackett/City of Rome Water/Sewer
  8. Jonathan Miller/Steadfast Inc. Well Drilling
  9. Brenda Spark
  10. John Damer/GA DNR
  11. Lonnie Waters/City of Jasper

Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Members (MNGWPD):

  1. Danny Johnson/MNGWPD
  2. Andrew Morris/ MNGWPD
  3. Judy Skeel/Cobb County
  4. Tim Perkins/Forsyth County
  5. Barry Lucas/Forsyth County
  6. Laurie Ashmore/Paulding County
  7. Horrace Gee/City of Gainesville
  8. Ernest Earn/Cobb County
  9. Kathy Nguyen/Cobb County
  10. David Kubala/Cherokee County
  11. Bruce Coyle/Paulding County
  12. Tom Shannon/MNGWPD BAC Member

GA Environmental Protection Division

  1. Jennifer Welte, EPD Project Manager
  2. Liz Booth, EPD
  3. Hailian Liang, EPD
  4. George McMahon/Arcadis (contractor)


  1. Doug Baughman
  2. Brian Skeens
  3. Craig Hensley

Related to: