Meeting Summary: Coosa-North Georgia Council May 18, 2022

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

 

From:    Christine Voudy, GA EPD

Paula Feldman, Freese and Nichols

Andrea Druhot, Freese and Nichols

 

Subject: Meeting Summary: CNG Regional Water Planning Council Meeting

Date: February 23, 2022

 

Welcome and Introductions

Mr. Brooke Anderson, CNG Chairman, welcomed the group, made introductions and invited everyone in the room to introduce themselves. Brooke noted that through routine process, EPD has selected a new Planning Contractor, Freese and Nichols, to support the CNG Council.  Brooke asked Paula Feldman to introduce herself and the firm.

Brooke provided an overview of the process for planning and the agenda topics:

  1. Council Business
  2. Forecasting Updates
  3. Groundwater Availability Resource Assessment (RA) Updates
  4. Water Quality RA Updates
  5. Surface Water RA Overview
  6. Management Practices

 

Council Business

  1. Council members approved the November 3, 2021 meeting minutes.
  2. Council members approved the February 23, 2022 meeting agenda.
  3. Council members approved and renewed the Council Memorandum of Agreement that was provided to members prior to the meeting.
  4. Council members approved the council vision, which was updated on November 3, 2021.
  5. Council members approved the council goals, which were modified and updated on November 3, 2021.
  6. Brooke provided a Seed Grants Update:
    1. The Coosa-North Georgia 303(d) Listed Streams Prioritization and Analysis Project is ongoing. The stream prioritization spreadsheet tool has been completed and will help identify streams that could be delisted with more monitoring. After monitoring Amicalola Creek and creeks flowing into Lake Chatuge, it appears that they could be delisted 303d at the end of the year.
    2. The new 2022 Seed Grant, Lake Lanier Water Quality Evaluation, is a partnership with the City of Gainesville and the Lake Lanier Association. The project has a signed contract and will evaluate the water quality impact of raising the full pool level from 1071 feet to 1073 feet.

 

Forecasting Updates 

Ms. Jennifer Welte, Regulatory Program Director at GA EPD, presented updates on the water demand forecasting and compared results to the 2017 Plan. The forecasting methodology and draft forecasts may be reviewed at the following link: https://waterplanning.georgia.gov/forecasting.

Section 4: Forecasting Future Water Resource Needs of the Regional Water Plan will be updated, and a tracked changes version will be sent to Council members prior to the next meeting for review. Categories discussed include:

  • Population Projections
  • Municipal Water Demand Forecasts
  • Municipal Wastewater Flow Forecasts
  • Industrial Water Demand Forecasts
  • Industrial Returns
  • Thermoelectric Energy Water Demands
  • Agricultural Water Demand Forecasts
  • Total Water Demand and Wastewater Flow Forecasts

Question: Are the industrial water demands for Whitfield County too low given their existing water users?

Answer: Jennifer suggested reviewing the data during a meeting break. The forecasting will depend on whether the industry is supplied by the municipality or has its own permitted withdrawal.

Question: Why is the industrial return for Floyd County so high? Was power accidentally included?

Answer: Jennifer suggested reviewing the data during the meeting break. The group discussed the influence of the paper industry.

Question: Mr. Bowman requested more details on the agriculture water demand for Murray County.

Answer: Jennifer will reach out to Dr. Mark Masters to follow up with Mr. Bowman.

 

Groundwater Availability Resource Assessment Updates 

Ms. Christine Voudy, GA EPD’s Liaison for the Coosa North Georgia Regional Council, provided updates on the Groundwater Resource Assessment, focusing on the Paleozoic Rock and Crystalline Rock aquifer systems found in the Coosa-North Georgia region. The Crystalline Rock aquifer was evaluated using a water budget approach while the Paleozoic Rock aquifer was evaluated with a numerical groundwater flow model that was calibrated qualitatively. However, finding a water bearing unit is a challenge in the Coosa-North Georgia region.

Question: What are the differences in groundwater development in South Georgia versus the Piedmont region of Coosa North Georgia?

Answer: Christine noted that while reported sustainable yields may indicate the potential for high yielding wells, the biggest challenge is finding water bearing units in North Georgia.

 

Update on 319 Grant in Walker County

Mr. Stephen Bontekoe, Executive Director, Limestone Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council, was invited by Brooke to provide an update on an EPD 319 grant project in Walker County. The project develops a watershed plan, which allows the watershed to be eligible for funding to implement management practices that could remove it from the 303d list. The draft plan is under review by EPD and expected to be finalized in the next few months.

 

Water Quality Resource Assessment Updates

Dr. Liz Booth, GA EPD, Watershed Planning and Monitoring Program Manager, presented an update on the Water Quality Resource Assessment. One major change is that EPD is now monitoring for E. coli instead of fecal coliform. Liz shared the status of regulatory changes, expansion of the DOSAG models, high chlorophyll levels in the lakes, water quality in streams and rivers, and PFAS monitoring. Presentation topics included:

  1. 2019 Triennial Review
  2. 2022 Triennial Review
  3. State Water Planning Process
  4. Water Quality Resource Assessment
  5. Water Quality Modeling
  6. 2022 305(b)/303(d) Listed Segments
  7. PFAS Monitoring of Drinking Water

Question: Mr. Berg requested additional information on the new bacteria criteria for drinking water and fishing designated uses.

Answer: Liz will provide addition information.

Question: Are there layers in the classification of streams?

Answer: Liz clarified that yes, streams can have primary recreation in the summer, with higher bacterial criteria for fishing and drinking in the winter, and special arsenic criteria too.

Question: Who is responsible to post advisories for harmful algae blooms?

Answer: Liz answered that lake managers are currently responsible for posting advisories. EPD has resources that they can use but does not post the advisories.

Question: What influence does EPD have in posting advisories for Lake Lanier?

Answer: Liz clarified that the U.S. Army Corps is responsible for advisories at Lake Lanier.

Question: Has the EPD seen a correlation between rainfall and PFAS levels?

Answer: Christine shared that a study in North Carolina saw an increase after intense rain events.

Question: Mr. Ellis shared that Calhoun’s levels have reduced with increased rainfall.

Answer: Liz mentioned that karst geology in the Calhoun area makes tracking PFAS challenging.

 

Surface Water Resource Assessment Overview 

Ms. Jennifer Welte presented an overview of the Surface Water Assessment. The assessment uses a Basin Environmental Assessment Model (BEAM) and has been significantly updated since the 2017 Plan with more nodes, such as discharges, reservoirs, USGS gages, agricultural use, and withdrawals. Dr. Wei Zeng is managing the model. Initial results are anticipated for the next council meeting.

 

Discussion of Management Practices

Paula Feldman presented an introduction to management practices, their importance, and examples for each of the four categories: water conservation, water supply management, wastewater management, and water quality.

The council was presented with homework:

  • Review management practices in the 2017 Plan
  • Meet with utility directors in their County to discuss the 2017 management practices and get their input:
    • What is important to them?
    • What is challenging?
    • What is exciting/helpful?
    • What is on their wish list?
  • Council members were tasked with bringing the feedback collected from local utility leaders to the next council meeting.

 

Comments from Non-Council Members, Visitors, or the General Public

No public comments.

 

Next Steps and Wrap Up

Brooke reminded the council that May 18, 2022 is the next council meeting and adjourned the meeting.

 

Council Members Present:

  1. Brooke Anderson, Chairman
  2. Mike Berg
  3. Rebecca Bolden Mason
  4. Greg Bowman
  5. Eddie Cantrell
  6. Larry Chapman
  7. Kyle Ellis
  8. Keith Ethridge
  9. Robert Goff
  10. Terry Goodger
  11. Joel Hanner
  12. Haynes Johnson
  13. Gary McVey
  14. Alex Sullivan
  15. Allison Watters
  16. Brandon Whitley

Partnering & Other State Agencies

  1. Julianne Meadows, Northwest Georgia Regional Commission
  2. Ritchie Mullen, Georgia Forestry Commission
  3. Stephen Bontekoe, Limestone Valley RC&D Council

Visitors

  1. George Kelley, Freese and Nichols
  2. Josh Davis, City of Jasper
  3. Kim Goldener, City of Jasper
  4. Marie Ahern, Young Harris College

GA Environmental Protection Division

  1. Christine Voudy, EPD Council Lead
  2. Jennifer Welte, GA EPD, Regulatory Program Manager
  3. Dr. Liz Booth, GA EPD, Watershed Planning and Monitoring Program Manager

Freese and Nichols (Planning Contractors)

  1. Paula Feldman
  2. Andrea Druhot

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