Meeting Summary: Middle Chattahoochee Council May 13, 2020
Welcome, Introductions, and Meeting Overview
Kristin Rowles (Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center) started the meeting by checking who was in attendance (attendees listed at end of meeting summary). A quorum of Council members was confirmed. Kristin reviewed the meeting objective: To consider comments on a proposed amendment to the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Water Resources Plan concerning Coweta Water and Sewerage Authority. She provided an overview of the meeting agenda including discussion of the draft comment letter, public comment, and action on the proposed comment letter by the Council. She noted that Danny Johnson from the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (Metro Water District) and representatives of Coweta County Water and Sewerage Authority were available on the call to answer questions from Council members.
Consideration of Draft Letter of Comment regarding Proposed Amendment
Kristin referred the Council to the draft letter of comment and noted that it was developed after review and discussion of the proposed amendment to the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Water Resources Plan during an informational meeting with Danny Johnson of the District on April 24. A copy of the letter, as amended later in this meeting, is attached at the end of this meeting summary.
Chairman Steve Davis reported to the Council on that meeting and his recommendation that the Council submit a letter of comment on the proposed amendment. He noted concerns about future growth in the region, reliance on septic systems, and return flows to the Chattahoochee River. He noted that the Council’s regional water plan encourages the use of point source discharges for wastewater treatment effluent disposal to support return flows.
Kristin reviewed the draft letter of comment. Danny Johnson clarified several points for the Council. He noted that Coweta’s projections for wastewater and water demand were consistent with the District’s methods for these projections. Jay Boren from Coweta County Water and Sewerage Authority said that the County had recently considered zoning changes that will permit residential connections to central sewer. A Council member asked how much of the current withdrawal goes to septic systems at this time. Dan Davis, Integrated Science and Engineering, representing Coweta County Water and Sewerage Authority, offered to make some estimates to answer this question. Danny Johnson said that the District’s plan shows that 65% of Coweta County was served by septic in 2013, including homes served by well water.
In response to a question from a Council member about the timing of implementation, Danny Johnson said that the engineer’s report noted that Coweta’s current water supply contracts with Griffin and Newnan will be honored.
The group discussed the use of 60 gpcd for water use projections, which the draft letter questioned as possibly low. Danny Johnson advised that this projection is consistent with District research showing new residential development as low as 35-40 gpcd (not including outdoor irrigation).
The Council paused to take public comment before taking action on the draft letter.
Chris Manganiello of the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper offered comments to the Council. He said that Chattahoochee Riverkeeper will be submitting comments to the District on the proposed amendment with a focus on population projections, water demand projections, the water quality designation of the stretch of river where the withdrawal will occur, the potential need for a diversion structure for the withdrawal that could negatively impact recreation, and the net return of water to the river.
Council Decision on Draft Letter of Comment
Chairman Davis said he supported moving forward with the comment letter. Ken Penuel offered a modification to the letter to request that the County require centralized wastewater in areas of more intense development. This addition was made to the letter for consideration via shared screen and is indicated by underlining and red text in the attached copy of the letter. Ken Penuel made a motion to approve the draft letter of comment as amended. Harry Lange seconded the motion. The motion was approved by consensus in a roll call vote. (Note: Gardiner Garrard’s vote in favor of the motion came in as the meeting was closing due to a technical limitation.)
Next Steps/Meeting Adjournment
Chairman Davis will sign the letter (attached), and Kristin will submit the letter to the District and distribute the letter to the Council and observers attending today’s meeting. The meeting was adjourned.
Council Members Attending May 13, 2020 Meeting
Steve Davis, Chair
Harry Lange, Vice Chair
John Asbell, Georgia Power
Christine Voudy, GA EPD
Jennifer Welte, GA EPD
Steve Simpson, Black & Veatch
Stephanie Whitacre, Black & Veatch
Nicole Wien, Black & Veatch
Chris Manganiello, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
Danny Johnson, Metro Water District
Laura Schneider, River Valley Regional Commission
Kristin Rowles, GWPPC
Mark Masters, GWPPC
Jay Boren, Coweta County Water and Sewerage Authority
Dan Davis, Integrated Science and Engineering
Jarred Jackson, Integrated Science and Engineering
Paul Jarrell, Three Rivers Regional Commission
Jennifer Flowers, Lake Lanier Association
Hunter Roop, GA DNR
Sarah Baker, GA DNR