Meeting Summary: Coosa-North Georgia Council November 30, 2022
To: Coosa-North Georgia (CNG) Regional Water Planning Council
From: Christine Voudy, GA EPD
Paula Feldman, Freese and Nichols
Andrea Druhot, Freese and Nichols
Olivia Synder, Freese and Nichols
Subject: Meeting Summary: CNG Regional Water Planning Council Meeting
Date: November 30, 2022
Welcome and Introductions
Brooke Anderson, CNG Chairman, welcomed the group, made introductions, and invited everyone in the room to introduce themselves.
Mr. Anderson provided an overview of the process for planning and the agenda topics:
- Council Business
- Regional Water Planning
- Surface Water Resource Assessment
- Draft Regional Water Plan – Section Updates
- Bartow History Museum Presentation and Lunch
- Management Practices Discussion
- Council members approved the September 2022 meeting minutes.
- Council members approved the November meeting agenda.
Regional Water Planning Updates (Christine Voudy, Liaison for Coosa North Georgia, GA EPD)
Christine Voudy reviewed the Regional Water Planning timeline. The next meeting (February 7th) will review the draft plan before it goes to public comment. This meeting covers the last of the technical information.
Christine also presented the proposed rule on asset management planning and minimum plan requirements, which will need to be approved by EPA. Regulated systems would need to comply with this requirement beginning January 1st, 2024.
Mr. Anderson questioned if the rules specified a size of the utility. Ms. Voudy clarified that size is specified for the issuance of a permit due to ownership change or renewal, but smaller systems could be required to submit an asset management plan under the third bullet presented, “The Director may, based on compliance history or deficiencies noted during inspections, require an existing PWS to submit an asset management plan.”
Mr. Berg asked if EPD provided a list of required assets to include. Ms. Voudy shared that yes, EPD has a table of potential assets included in the updated Draft Minimum Standards for PWS guidance, which is detailed on the EPD website.
Mr. Anderson asked for additional information on the drivers for EPA’s new asset management rule. Ms. Voudy shared that EPD does not have additional details from EPA but it is possible that EPA wanted to provide guidelines to reduce the instances of water quality problems due to degrading asset conditions.
Mr. Anderson provided an update on the Seed Grant. An application was submitted to find a trading project for the EPD nutrient trading program that is undergoing public comment. The submittal was sponsored by Lumpkin County WSA, the City of Gainesville, and North Georgia Water Resources Partnership. MNGWPD submitted a letter of support. The EPD awards are anticipated in December.
Surface Water Resource Assessment (Wei Zeng, EPD)
Dr. Zeng presented the surface water availability model and results relating to water supply challenges, wastewater assimilation challenges, and Lake Allatoona elevations. He reviewed the updated BEAM model and node types. The model reflects 1939 to 2018 data. The model covers three scenarios: baseline (2010 to 2018), drought year (2011), and future (2060). The Coosa North Georgia Regional Water Council overlaps with three river basins; the presentation focused on model results for the Coosa-Tallapoosa and TN river basins.
Dr. Zeng shared that the Coosa basin contains the largest number of facilities, which are divided into municipal withdrawal and discharge, industrial withdrawal and discharge, and energy withdrawal facilities. The permit for Plant Hammond reflects that GA Power is wrapping up its operations at the location. Dr. Zeng provided tabular data, quantified in both acre-feet and million gallons, for the facilities in the Coosa and TN basins. Dr. Zeng clarified that Chatsworth Water Works Commission had challenges in past years but is not predicted to have challenges in the future scenario because its withdrawal or upstream withdrawals are reduced in future scenarios. Dr. Zeng shared that the City of Calhoun may consider mitigation for its predicted water supply challenges, as an example. EPD is planning to reach out to facilities with challenges and provide more information about the issues and potential mitigation.
Dr. Zeng reminded that there could be changes to the 7Q10 which impact the water supply and wastewater assimilation challenges. He expressed concern about OMNOVA and Walker County WPCP and plans to work with Dr. Liz Booth to see if the 7Q10 is outdated. There may be a need to change the 7Q10 values or permit limitations. Some facilities reflected a reduced challenge in the future due to increased volumes of wastewater discharges upstream of those facilities, increasing the stream flows.
Dr. Zeng reviewed the number of days that Lake Allatoona’s water levels are predicted to fall below the initial impact level, recreation impact level, or water access limit.
Mr. Anderson asked if the percentages should add to 100% for Lake Allatoona for the different impact levels. Dr. Zeng clarified that the levels are inclusive and not additive. The percentage of days below the water access limit should be 1 minus the days above the water access limit, and the percentage of days below the initial impact level or recreation impact level should exceed those below the water access limit. The number of modeled days is also different between scenarios.
Mr. Coffey asked if 7Q10 values are calculated every year. Dr. Zeng shared that permits are on a five-year cycle and typically ten years of data are considered, so a drought within those ten years has an impact on the 7Q10. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is developing a tool for EPD to determine 7Q10 values across the state.
Ms. Voudy clarified that the water supply models assess a period of 80 years. Mr. Anderson asked if facility reservoir operations are being incorporated into the Lake Allatoona summary, and Dr. Zeng shared that yes, permits are incorporated into the BEAM model and any additional information about reservoir operations is very helpful to make the model more accurate.
Mr. Anderson asked if the volume of shortage refers to the volume within the river. Dr. Zeng shared the shortage volume corresponds to the amount of water needed to assimilate permitted and predicted wastewater flows during 7Q10 stream flow conditions.
Dr. Zeng shared that other councils considered a few recreation impacts using input from outfitters or used Seed Grant study money to consider ecological impacts.
Draft Regional Water Plan – Section Updates (Paula Feldman, Council Support Lead, FNI)
Paula Feldman reviewed the previously presented Section 4 updates. The council had no additional feedback.
Bartow County History Museum (Trey Gaines)
Mr. Trey Gaines provided a presentation on the Bartow County History Museum. The building was previously a courthouse after the Civil War. Train disruptions forced the courthouse staff to move. Eventually the building became the museum’s home in 2010. The museum was created in 1987 at another location before moving to its current site. The museum exhibits cover early 1800s to present, picking up where the Etowah Indian Mounds leave off. Mr. Gaines shared pictures and an overview of some of the exhibits. He shared that the gift shop has many local gifts and books. The current temporary exhibit showcases Allatoona Dam in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the dam’s dedication.
Management Practices (Brooke Anderson, Council Chair)
Brooke Anderson led the discussion to review the past bullets for each management practice and proposed changes. Since the last meeting, FNI added an “Administrative” category per the Council’s request. The Council approved the reorganization. The changes made to the management practices and bullets during the meeting will be sent to the Council members for their consideration and feedback.
Mr. Anderson also urged the Council members to reflect on the scope of the Regional Water Plan – should it apply to all systems or only those serving more than 3,300? The Plan should clearly state the scope. Ms. Voudy clarified that there are approximately 2,300 drinking water permits in the state but only approximately 300 serving more than 3,300 people. Ms. Watters mentioned requiring adherence to the Plan for larger utilities but suggesting adherence for smaller utilities. The Council also discussed simply being thoughtful about the language for the management practices so that none are too burdensome on smaller permit holders. Freese and Nichols will review the definitions around community water systems and compare to the plan’s language. Mr. Anderson asked members to be prepared at the next meeting to discuss the topic.
Next Steps and Wrap Up
The next meeting will be February 7th, 2023. Freese and Nichols will send the council the meeting presentation and requests council feedback on the management practices by January 7th to prepare the draft plan.
Comments from Non-Council Members, Visitors, or the General Public
No public comments.
Council Members Present (15):
- Brooke Anderson, Chairman
- Mike Berg
- Greg Bowman
- Mark Buckner
- Eddie Cantrell
- Larry Chapman
- Keith Coffey
- Kyle Ellis
- Keith Ethridge
- Robert Goff
- Rebecca Bolden Mason
- Gary McVey
- Alex Sullivan
- Allison Watters
- Brandon Whitley
- Kim Goldner, City of Jasper
- George Kelley, City of Blue Ridge
- Diane Wagner, Rome News Tribune
GA Environmental Protection Division
- Christine Voudy, GA EPD Council Liaison
- Clete Barton, GA EPD Program Manager
Freese and Nichols (Planning Contractors)
- Paula Feldman
- Andrea Druhot
- Olivia Snyder