Council submits comments to Watershed Protection Branch in support of City of Atlanta’s Clean Water Act permit re-issuance

As the city of Atlanta seeks renewal of its federal Clean Water Act permit, which was issued in January 2005 by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and expired in January 2010, the city has requested a five-year National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The Council for Quality Growth sent a letter to the Watershed Protection Branch on February 9 to show our support of the reissuance of the NPDES permits to the City of Atlanta; below is an excerpt:

These permits are an important update to the existing permits… written in 2005 before the construction of the improvements to the City’s combined sewer system. These improvements have resulted in better water quality in the Chattahoochee River and South River Basins….

 The proposed permit re-issuances are based on this improved combined sewage system and are consequently more stringent than the 2005 permits. The proposed permits are consistent with, and in some respects more stringent than, the EPA CSO Policy which was adopted by the U.S. Congress in 1992. The permits are unique in Georgia (and maybe in the Nation) in the inclusion of implementation of green infrastructure for new and existing developments in the combined sewer system area….

 We concur that removal of the antiquated and non-effective targets for BOD/TSS (Biochemical Oxygen Demand/Total Suspended Solids) in the 2005 permits is the correct decision. These targets are not meaningful and are not a valid measure of the effectiveness of the management and treatment of combined sewage.