The Georgia Water Coalition on Wednesday named its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of the state’s worst polluters, taking particular aim at state policymakers for what it called poor oversight and a lack of political will to enforce existing environmental protections.
The coalition, which includes 217 conservation and environmental organizations, said the list is not ranked in any particular order. It names endangered areas across the state and the reasons they are under threat:
- Georgia’s water because of state policy.
- Georgia’s coastal and freshwater wetlands because of decisions by the state Environmental Protection Division that the group said loosen regulation of clean water laws.
- The Floridan Aquifer on Georgia’s coast because of the state’s plans to explore injecting treated surface water into an underground storage area.
- The Chattahoochee River because the region’s primary source of drinking water is under stress from stormwater runoff.
- The Coosa River, related to Georgia Power’s use of river water at the coal-powered Plant Hammond near Rome.
- The Flint River, related to state policy and fabrics manufacturer TenCate’s legal method of spraying treated wastewater over land near the Flint and area creeks.
- The Savannah River because of depleted oxygen levels that threaten wildlife.
- Georgia’s small streams and wetlands, which would fall under proposed rules about which bodies of water should be covered under the federal Clean Water Act.
- The Withlacoochee River, which is near where a proposed natural gas pipeline would run through nine Georgia counties as it winds its way from Alabama to central Florida.
- The Turtle River, which is near Brunswick and a toxic site from the long-closed LCP Chemicals plant that is still riddled with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), caustic soda, mercury and lead.
- The Satilla River at Waycross, which has seen the effects of industrial sites including the Seven Out industrial waste facility — deemed a Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- The Little Satilla Creek and Penholloway Creek near Jesup because of the DuPont Co.’s proposed mining operation affecting nearby residents and local wetlands.