Two area rivers are included on the Georgia Water Coalition’s list of unhealthy water pathways in the Peach State.
On the the Dirty Dozen list — 13 in all — are the Altamaha and Little Satilla rivers.
The list spotlights threats to Georgia’s water resources as well as the polluters and state policies or failures that ultimately or potentially could harm Georgia property owners, downstream communities, fish and wildlife, hunters, anglers, boaters and swimmers, said Chris Manganiello, policy director for the coalition.
Concerns about the Altamaha include pollution from the Rayonier Pulp Mill in Jesup and the state’s regulating agencies allowing the pollution to continue.
“Something needs to be done to eliminate the foul odor and troubling color of this river,” said Altamaha Riverkeeper Jen Hilburn. “This is an issue we’ve been fighting for decades and while some work has been done to decrease this pollution, we still have a long way to go.”
She said residents can help by writing letters to the state Environmental Protection Division and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
“A big thanks goes out to those who have already written letters, but we still need to communicate more in-depth with the EPA and EPD about the problems we see on a regular basis,” Hilburn said.
On the Little Satilla, as well as on its nearby Penholloway Creek, the major area of concern is the threat to property values and water quality due to impacts from a strip mine in Wayne County.
Here is a list of the 13 concerns:
• Cooper Creek due to timber harvest effecting muddy mountain streams
• Georgia’s stream buffers due to confusing state laws which leave some streams without protection
• Chattahoochee River due to the EPD’s water grab that threatens the health of the state’s most critical water supply
• Georgia’s hazardous waste sites which pose a risk to public health
• Chattahoochee River due to trash left by tubers which causes pollution for riverfront landowners
• Altamaha River due to pollution from Rayonier Pulp Mill and confusion from state pollution policies
• Georgia’s Coast due to offshore drilling posing threats to tourism and fisheries
• Coosa River due to a local power plant killing fish
• Little Satilla River and nearby Penholloway Creek due to property value and water quality threats from a strip mine in Wayne County
• Bear Creek due to a wasteful reservoir deal that impacts taxpayers
• Withlacoochee River and Floridan Aquifer due to the invasion of a gas pipeline in south Georgia which could impact drinking water
• Georgia’s groundwater due to legislative inaction which leaves well water at risk
• Georgia’s coastal waters: Gov. Nathan Deal supporting the fight for a petroleum pipeline.