An effort to permanently prevent the injection of surface water into the Floridan Aquifer in several counties in Southeast Georgia is picking up steam.
State Rep. Alex Atwood, R-St. Simons Island, on Wednesday introduced the Underground Water Supply Protection Act of 2015 in Georgia’s House of Representatives.
The short, 27-line bill would prohibit what many consider to be the risky practice of pumping surface water into the aquifer for use at a later date. The process is known as aquifer storage and recovery.
Opponents of the practice say the surface water can contaminate the aquifer, the primary drinking water source for most of South Georgia.
Proponents say injecting treated surface water into the aquifer is an efficient way to preserve water supplies that in some parts of the state are dwindling.
Atwood’s bill says aquifer storage poses “significant threats to the reliability and physical integrity of these natural water supplies.”
If passed, the bill would prohibit aquifer storage in Brantley, Bryan, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Wayne counties.
Atwood said another member of the Glynn County state delegation, Sen. William Ligon, R-St. Simons Island, will introduce a similar bill soon in the Senate.
Ligon got the ball rolling with the effort to end aquifer storage and recovery a year ago when he introduced a bill to make permanent the moratorium on a practice that started in 1999.
That bill was sent to a Senate study committee, but it was not passed before the session ended, and as a result, the moratorium was lifted July 1, 2014.