January 26, 2023

Meeting Summary: Coosa-North Georgia Council September 21, 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


Subject: Meeting Summary: CNG Regional Water Planning Council Meeting

Date: September 21, 2022

Welcome and Introductions

Brooke Anderson, CNG Chairman, welcomed the group, made introductions, and invited everyone in the room to introduce themselves.

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

  1. Council Business
  2. Regional Water Planning
  3. Management Practices Discussion
  4. Metro Water District Update
  5. Draft Regional Water Plan – Section Updates
  6. RWP Seed Grant Program

Council Business

  1. Council members approved the May 2022 meeting minutes.
  2. Council members approved the September 21st meeting agenda.


Regional Water Planning Updates (Christine Voudy, Liaison for Coosa North Georgia, GA EPD)

Christine Voudy presented an update on the Regional Water Planning timeline. The schedule has been extended by 6 months to June 2023 due to outstanding surface water availability resource assessment. The assessment is using a new model this update and the BEAM model is taking a little longer to finalize. The results are expected in the next meeting.


Management Practices (Brooke Anderson, Council Chair)

Brooke Anderson celebrated the productive subcommittee meetings that occurred over the summer. A subcommittee for each of the four categories (water conservation, water supply management, wastewater management, and water quality) met virtually on August 31st to refine the management practices. The council was asked to consider any practices to add, remove, or modify. Key takeaways from the discussion included focusing on practices within council control and impact and excluding practices already covered by regulations or EPD rules.


Brooke presented the draft concept management practices recommended by the subcommittees and clarified that there will be additional opportunities to revise the practices after the resource assessments are complete. The goal of the council meeting was to focus on the main descriptions, and not the bullets or schedule of each management practice.


Brooke reviewed the changes to water supply practices.

  • Practice #1: Update local water master plans, including water system inventory and mapping
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
    • Mike commented that the residuals bullet is a good one and the advanced treatment technologies are now a reality in Rome.
  • Practice #2: Identify/evaluate additional water supply sources
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
  • Practice #3: Encourage beneficial reuse to offset potable demands
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
  • Practice #4: Develop and update a resiliency plan for the water system
    • Brooke commented that he does not want to be too specific, costly, or restrictive while balancing the need to be prepared.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.

Brooke reviewed the changes to water conservation practices.

  • The council discussed including a page in the document to present the applicable laws and rules, such as the Stewardship Act, that no longer will be presented as management practices since they are required by utilities.
  • Practice #1: Develop/update/implement water conservation education and awareness programs.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
    • Discussion led to the development of Practice #5.
    • Mike requested adding “Consider promoting and communicating the value of water to your customers” as a bullet.
  • Practice #2: Encourage utilities to develop conservation goals and programs to achieve goals.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
    • The council discussed whether the last bullet was redundant to existing requirements. No changes were proposed at this time.
  • Practice #3: Implement conservation rate structures.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
  • Practice #4: Consider promoting utility finance/accounting best practices.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
    • Mike proposed changing “Promote” to “Consider promoting.”
      • Brandon shared that he agrees with the suggestion-style wording.
      • Mike agreed that the language was best with no implied binding.
      • Christine clarified how EPD would interpret “consider promoting.” EPD would check in on the status of the practice, but this language is not restrictive.
      • Mike added that this practice can help utilities communicate with their board.
    • Brooke asked if the council would like to restructure to have a separate administrative management category. Potential topics may include:
        • Education
        • Master planning/asset management
        • Finance/accounting
        • Rate structure
        • Capital recover fee review
      • The council will consider and discuss in the next meeting if there should be an administrative management practice as a separate category that would include shared topics among the other management practices.
  • Practice #5: Consider developing partnerships with non-utility agencies related to cost-sharing programs and agricultural conservation-oriented activities.
    • The Council considered adding this practice to Practice #1 as part of public education and ultimately decided to add as a separate management practice.
    • Greg shared that the USDA local extension offices (EQIP programs) provide funding for conservation measures on farms, and not all farms know the funds are available. The program is tied to Farm Bill. Greg clarified that NRCS and Farm Services are both branches under the USDA, and the program is part of the NRCS branch.
    • Gary McVey shared that the NRCS made them aware of funding for a reservoir due to a connection with agricultural water need.
    • Mike proposed adding “Develop partnerships with external agencies” or listing the agencies and their cost-sharing options as sub-bullets to this practice.
    • Greg clarified that most conversations about funding for farm conservation measures begin when the farms visit the extension office for soil testing.
    • Mike noted that a utility needs to have a relationship with the extension service to be involved early.

Brooke reviewed changes to wastewater management practices.

  • Practice #1: Develop/update local wastewater master plans, including sewer system inventory and mapping.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
  • Practice #2: Develop, update, and implement local wastewater education and public awareness program, including septic system management and FOG.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
    • The council noted that this practice is more action-oriented and approves.
    • The council discussed whether the last bullet should be promoted in conjunction with the local health department. No changes were proposed at this time.
  • Practice #3: Consider implementation of sewer system inspection, maintenance, and rehabilitation program.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
  • Practice #4: Develop and update a resiliency plan for the wastewater system.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
  • Practice #5: Consider local ordinances or minimum development standards regarding private decentralized wastewater systems.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
    • Brooke commented that a similar practice could be added for water systems as well.

Brooke reviewed changes to water quality practices, which were consolidated from 14 to 7 practices.

  • Practice #1: Encourage implementation of nutrient management programs.
  • Practice #2: Promote use of forestry best management practices and stream buffer protection.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
  • Practice #3: Encourage consideration of post-development and regional BMPs such as regional ponds and natural protection systems.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
  • Practice #4: Encourage implementation of local stormwater education, public awareness, and on-site BMPs.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
  • Practice #5: Encourage comprehensive land use planning and floodplain management.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
  • Practice #6: Support TMDL implementation and testing to de-list 303(d) listed streams.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
    • The council discussed 319 grant funding used for the Limestone Valley project.
  • Practice #7: Consider water quality credit trading or non-traditional NPDES permitting.
    • Council agrees with the draft concept.
    • Tom wondered what EPD would ask of utilities.
      • Brooke mentioned that EPD may start asking for optimization plan for nutrients at treatment plants.


Metro District Update (Danny Johnson and Katherine Atteberry, Metro North Georgia Water Planning District)


Danny Johnson provided an update of the Metro District’s Plan Updates and Plan changes.

  • MNGWPD Overview:
    • Metro Atlanta (4,930 sq. mi.) is 20% larger than the land contributing to its water supplies (4,082 sq. mi.).
    • MNGWPD is at the headwaters of many watersheds in the state of Georgia.
    • Average 50-inches of rain annually, but the range can be 70-inches followed by 30-inches.  The variability stresses water supplies.  A drought is typically defined as two low rainfall years in a row.  Three years in a row of low rainfall presents a particular challenge.
  • 2022 Metro District Plan Update Schedule
    • Public comment period just ended.
    • EPD will be reviewing shortly, after which the governing board should be adopting the plan in December 2022.
  • Solids Forecasts for the Entire MNGWPD:
    • Water Residual Solids
      • Increase of 43% from 2019 (21,500 dry tons) to 2040 (30,800 dry tons)
    • WW Biosolids
      • Increase of 37% to 54% from 2019 (142,400 dry tons) to 2040 (194,500 to 219,000 dry tons).  The range is driven by potential for new phosphorus limits
  • Appendix B in the MNGWPD plan includes County Level Summaries for facilities.  These identify facility expansion plans through 2040, both for water and wastewater.

Katherine Atteberry presented on stormwater forecasting.

  • The stormwater forecast is intended to be an honest assessment of water quality standards not meeting designated uses. The 2022 Plan Update uses a new indicator based on water quantity in addition to water quality.
  • Current stormwater metrics are insufficient, as shown by a public survey conducted through the Water Environment Federation (WEF).
  • Goals of the Stormwater Forecast:
    • Identify metric to facilitate new conversation
    • Shift paradigm from compliance-based management to performance-based management
    • Evaluate existing and future watershed conditions through 2040 using future development plans and future meteorological trends
  • Stormwater Forecast is a basin-scale planning estimate of total runoff volume from development.
  • Scenarios include Pre-development, 2019, 2030 and 2040.
  • Used reputable input data sources such as USGS, NOAA, etc.
  • Rainfall depths for each design storm are projected to increase due to climate change, leading to potential for immediately under sizing BMPs as soon as we build them.
  • Next steps will include testing the forecasts and identifying resulting improvements to the regional plan.
    • Current metrics include: 303(d)/305(b) list of impairment 
    • Goals for new approach: Shift from activity and compliance to function and performance.  Consider future development, future weather forecasts and forecast stormwater quantities using entire basin rather than site level
  • Highest of basin for overland flow in the District is the Coosa Basin
    • There is less existing development in Coosa, so there’s an opportunity to plan forward
  • The District’s Plan does not include action items related to forecasting for stormwater, the District is provide technical assistance
  • District plans to have a stormwater users group in future. Send Danny and Katherine an email to be notified when group opens, which will be similar to the AMI users group.


Draft Regional Water Plan – Section Updates (Paula Feldman, Council Support Lead, FNI)

Paula Feldman provided an update on Section 4. Two versions of Section 4 were sent to the council (track changes and clean updated version for comparison). Section 4 looks different than the 2017 Plan due to changes in the forecasting methodology. A technical memorandum will be sent to the council documenting the forecasting methodology in greater detail. Paula reminded the council that results from the resource assessment for surface water anticipated from EPD for next council meeting.


RWP Seed Grant (Brooke Anderson, Council Chair, and Christine Voudy, EPD Liaison)

Brooke shared that Seed Grant applications are accepted through October 31st, 2022. A pre-application meeting is scheduled for October 3rd. He would like to set seed grant idea priorities for the next five years in the next council meeting.  Brooke clarified that unanimous approval is required to approve a Seed Grant project.


Christine provided overview and history of the Seed Grant in CNG. A grant-funded project is studying the impact of raising Lake Lanier’s water level by 2 feet.


Brooke noted that the Water Resources Partnership met in Calhoun last month and discussed a project for the Seed Grant that involves establishing an example go-by project for water quality trading through NPDES permitting.  The identified project is in the Chattahoochee River basin and would be a partnership of Lumpkin County WSA and the City of Gainesville.  The Partnership reviewed, endorsed, and approved this project at the last meeting. 


Next Steps and Wrap Up

Brooke presented dates for the next meetings. The following dates were approved: November 30th (west side of region), Feb. 7th (east side), and May 2nd (central). Placeholders for these meetings will be sent to council members.  Brooke adjourned the meeting.


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

No public comments.


Council Members Present:

  1. Brooke Anderson, Chairman
  2. Greg Bowman
  3. Larry Chapman
  4. Kyle Ellis
  5. Robert Goff
  6. Mike Hackett
  7. Haynes Johnson
  8. Kevin Jones
  9. Rebecca Bolden Mason
  10. Gary McVey
  11. Brandon Whitley


Partnering & Other State Agencies

  1. Danny Johnson, Metro North Georgia Water Planning District
  2. Katherine Atteberry, Metro North Georgia Water Planning District


  1. Josh Davis, City of Jasper
  2. Kim Goldner, City of Jasper
  3. George Kelley, City of Blue Ridge

GA Environmental Protection Division

  1. Christine Voudy, GA EPD Council Liaison

Freese and Nichols (Planning Contractors)

  1. Paula Feldman
  2. Andrea Druhot
  3. Shauntelle Hamlett

Related to: