Meeting Summary: Middle Ocmulgee Council March 27, 2017


To: Middle Ocmulgee Regional Water Planning Council

From: Jennifer Welte, Georgia Environmental Protection Division

Michelle Vincent and Laura Hartt, Jacobs

Date: May 1, 2017

Subject: Council Meeting 5 Summary (March 27, 2017)

Middle Ocmulgee Regional Council

Regional Water Plan Review and Revision Process    

This memorandum provides the meeting summary of the Middle Ocmulgee Regional Water Planning Council Meeting 5, held on March 27, 2017 via conference call. The meeting was called to order by the chair at 11:04 AM.

1. Welcome and Introductions/Approve Agenda

Council Chairman Elmo Richardson called the meeting to order and thanked members for attending. Council members and other attendees identified themselves over the phone (see list at end of summary). Chairman Richardson asked for a motion and a second to approve the minutes from the previous council meeting and the agenda for the current meeting. The minutes were approved unanimously by all council members. To maximize time and to minimize confusion on the phone, non-council members were asked to please hold comments and questions until the end of the meeting, unless specifically recognized by a council member. Questions and/or comments are also welcome to be emailed to EPD or Planning Contractor.

2. Review Sections of Regional Water Pan

The Council reviewed each section of the Plan in turn. Planning Contractor Michelle Vincent briefly highlighted what the major changes were in each section since last meeting, if any.

Section 1 Introduction:           

Council approved this section with no additional changes.

Section 2 The Middle Ocmulgee Planning Region:

Chairman Richardson asked why was “Upper” removed from references to “Upper Floridan” aquifer?

Jennifer Welte answered this was per updates provided by the state geologist to reflect consistent reference to the Floridan aquifer across the state.

Council approved this section with no additional changes.

Section 3 Water Resources of the Middle Ocmulgee Planning Region:

Council approved this section with no additional changes.

Section 4 Forecasting Future Water Resource Needs:

Changes since meeting:  

  • PC was asked to review agricultural forecast numbers from Houston County. PC and EPD reviewed Table 4-2 (page 4-8) and followed up with Mark Masters. Mr. Masters  stated that this increase is due to the increase in water usage of pecan (accurate based upon the USDA forecast) as well as an increase in acreage.  EPD recommends no changes to Table 4-2.

Council approved this section with no additional changes.

Section 5 Comparison of Available Resource Capacity and Future Needs:

Changes made since last meeting:

  • Table 5-1: Jones and Newton County numbers were adjusted, as per comments from last meeting.

Council Member Question:  There still appears to be an error in Table 5-1 for Newton County (current permitted water withdrawals annual average 39.9 is incorrect; it should be 27.0).   39.9 appears mean monthly not annual average.

Council Member further comment: When you compare plans, it appears we went from mean monthly withdrawals (2011) to mean annual average withdrawals (2017).  Jennifer Welte stated that we need to verify the numbers and let the council know any updates to 2011.

Marci Seleb stated that Butts County is max monthly as well.

PC will verify that all of the counties are using monthly or annual, and make the appropriate changes to Table 5-1 and follow up with Council. 

Council approved this section pending changes for Table 5.1

Section 6 Addressing Water Needs and Regional Goals:

Changes requested by Council:

  • Updated the number count of Management Practices
  • Page 6-19; 6-10: there is a mistake; it should state table 5-1 (instead of Table 5-2)
  • WQ1 – correct spacing

 Jennifer Welte asked if there was any additional text to be added to WQ2. Council state they did not want to add any further language.

Council approved this section subject to changes mentioned.

Section 7 Implementing Water Management Practices:

Changes made to this section reflected changes made in Section 6. Also, the “Initial Implementation Action” column present form last round was removed; if any implementation actions have yet to be implemented, they were included in the “Short Term Implementation Action” column.

Changes requested by Council:

  • Additional language was included to Table 7-2
  • WQ2 -- cost for emerging pollutants. Jennifer Welte mentioned that there may be a need to provide additional wording stating that cost of sampling for emerging pollutants would vary.
  • Council Member Seleb asked if current costs annual or per sample. Jennifer: Cost is $4-8k for each grab sample collection. For detailed costs, would need to indicate the frequency of the sampling for each of the sampling metrics. 

Council approved this section subject to changes mentioned.

Section 8 Monitoring and Reporting Progress:

Council approved this section with no additional changes.

Executive Summary:

Chairman Richardson stated the number for surface water vs. groundwater on page 2 may be inaccurate. Jennifer Welte responded that the spilt shows consumptive energy use. Also that 70% of MGD of groundwater is used for agricultural. PC suggested that the language be clarified to detail that 2015 numbers include "all sectors in the region" driven by groundwater usage from the agricultural sector.

Council Member Question: Was there an update to the DO sampling on the Ocmulgee during 2014-15? The concern is there is language in the plan about limit capacity. There is modeling information that appears to be different. Jennifer will assist in finding out. Current condition modeling was updated in Section 6 to make this clear. Actual and field data are used to calibrate the model.  

Council Member: Was this calibration done? Jennifer: We can follow up with Liz Booth to detail how the sampling was included in the resource assessments and impact to the modeling.

PC suggested that the language be updated for "some stream segments" to a "few stream segments" for the review and revision round.

Council approved this section subject to changes mentioned.

Public Comment Period

No public comments.

Jennifer Welte let the Council know that Ted Hendricks will be leaving EPD in about a month. Jennifer will be filling in for him as EPD Council liaison for the time being.

Next Steps and Wrap Up

Next Steps:

  • Planning Contractor will finish making changes to the draft Plan, and will send to EPD Tuesday, March 28. EPD plans to go to out for public comment on March 31, 2017. Public comment period end will May 15, 2017.
  • Next/last Council meeting will be scheduled for first week of June (June 5-9).  PC will send out a poll to determine the dates.
  • EPD will prepare the public notifications for GovDelivery.
  • Chairman Richardson thanked everyone for their participation.

Meeting Adjourned 12:05 pm

Meeting Attendance (via conference call)

Middle Ocmulgee Regional Water Planning Council Members in attendance:

  • Elmo A. Richardson (Chair)
  • Ben Copeland, Jr. (Vice Chair)
  • Don Cook
  • Larry McSwain
  • Tony Rojas
  • Marcie Seleb
  • William Whitten
  • Ron Shipman (proxy)

Georgia EPD Representatives in attendance:

  • Jennifer Welte

Reginal Water Council Planning Contractors in attendance:

  • Michelle Vincent
  • Zakiya Seymour

Agency attendees:

  • N/A

Public attendees:

  • Mike Hopkins, Newton County
  • Scott Emmons, Newton County
  • Jen Hilburn, Altamaha Riverkeeper

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