Meeting Summary: Coosa-North Georgia Council March 7, 2017

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

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

Subject: Meeting Summary: Coosa-North Georgia Water Planning District Review and Revision Process (Council Meeting 4) on  March 7, 2017                      

Welcome and Introductions

Chairman David Ashburn welcomed the group to the meeting and provided updates on the current drought status of the region and announced recent grant awards. The Chairman presented a summary of the CNG Council Subcommittee Meeting held on February 8 in Calhoun, GA.

Chairman Ashburn reviewed the meeting objectives and reminded attendees of the sign-up sheet for public comments.

  • Finalize recommended revisions to the management practices
  • Review revisions to the overall water management plan

Presentation on the Implications of Fracking

Maddie Bess, a student at Berry College, presented general information on the fracking process, and the potential implications of fracking in north Georgia. Joe Cook of the Coosa River Basin Initiative spoke regarding conservation actions that are currently being taken by the Initiative and the status of relevant state legislation. Mr. Cook asked the Council if they would consider adopting a resolution that would encourage the State General Assembly to enact legislation regarding fracking operations in Georgia.

Question: Are there existing water quality studies for before and after fracking?

  • Answer: Studies are underway in other states.

Question: What types of chemicals are in the fracking fluid?

  • Answer: Fracking companies are not obligated to disclose fluid contents. Some communities have enacted or are working on legislation requiring the companies to do so.

Question: What distance from an aquifer can fracking be performed?

  • Answer: There is not current legislation governing buffers between aquifers and fracking operations.

Question: What are the general depths at which fracking occurs?

  • Answer: In north Georgia, the shale play is only about 500 feet deep. Approximate fracking depths would be close to this.

Chairman Ashburn suggested a motion to adopt the fracking resolution presented by the Coosa River Basin Initiative. Brooke Anderson motioned to adopt the resolution. Haynes Johnson seconded, and the motion was approved without opposition. Chairman Ashburn signed and dated a hard copy of the resolution on behalf of the council.

Subcommittee Meeting Summary

Overview of Plan Revisions

Doug Baughman (CH2M) and Brian Skeens (CH2M) summarized revisions to the Regional Water Plan. The following discussion and questions took place during the presentation:

Mr. Baughman summarized key revisions to Sections 1 through 9 of the Regional Water Plan.

Question: Will the draft plan presented to the council have changes tracked or will it be a clean copy?

  • Answer: A clean copy will be submitted to the Council for comment.

Review of Management Practice Recommendations

Doug Baughman (CH2M) and Brian Skeens (CH2M) led a discussion regarding recommended management practices in Sections 6 and 7 of the Regional Water Plan. The following discussion and questions took place during the presentation:

Section 6: Addressing Water Needs and Regional Goals (i.e. Management Practices)

4 new management practices were added to the Regional Water Plan. 1 management practice was removed. Other practices were revised for clarity and to increase specificity.

Chairman Ashburn discussed the addition of digital mapping to WS-7 and discussed the benefits of mapping community water systems.

Various suggestions were made by Council members to adjust the language found in the management practices.

Question: How will WS-7 be implemented?

  • Answer: Section 7 of the Plan describes the implementation process for each management practice. Mapping is encouraged but not required. Local governments and utilities are the responsible parties, with support from EPD.

Section 7: Implementing Water Management Practices

General discussion regarding implementation of management practices.

Question: Could a narrative or separate column on the cost estimate table in Section 7 be added to reflect progress and status of the implementation measures? It may be helpful to the Council to document value of return on investment.

  • Answer: This type of information could potentially be added during the next planning and update cycle.

Chairman Ashburn asked the council to consider a motion to generally accept changes to the Regional Water Plan. Mike Berg made a motion that the Council accept the changes. Brooke Anderson seconded, and the motion was approved without opposition.

Next Steps

  • The revised electronic drafts of sections 3, 4, 5 and the executive summary will be submitted to the council on March 10, 2017.
  • A complete draft of the Regional Water Plan will be submitted to the Council for review by March 24, 2017.
  • 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.

Elected Official and Public Comments

No requests were submitted for public comment.

Wrap Up / Council Meeting Evaluation

Chairman Ashburn asked council members to complete the post-meeting evaluation survey and adjourned the meeting.

Coosa – North Georgia Water Planning Council, March 7, 2017 CM#4

Members Present

  1. David Ashburn
  2. Brooke Anderson
  3. Jerry Barnes
  4. Mike Berg
  5. Wayne Bennett
  6. Keith Coffey
  7. Haynes Johnson
  8. Tom O’Bryant
  9. Lamar Paris
  10. John Bennett

Elected Officials

  1.  None in attendance.

Partnering & Other State Agencies

  1. Kevin McAuliff/Northwest GA Regional Commission
  2. Julianne Meadows/Northwest GA Regional Commission
  3. G. Richie Mullen/GA Forestry
  4. John Boyd/City of Rome
  5. John Damer/GA DNR
  6. Maddie Bess/Berry College
  7. Corey Babb/Georgia Power Company
  8. Adam Hazell/Georgia Mountains Regional Commission

GA Environmental Protection Division

  1. Jennifer Welte, EPD Project Manager
  2. Christine Voudy, EPD


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

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