A section of the Ocmulgee River in Twiggs and Houston counties can now support fishing again because it is no longer too polluted by PCBs, according to a new state assessment issued Wednesday.
Every few years, state environmental regulators must review water sampling results from the state’s creeks, rivers and lakes to determine which ones are too polluted for their intended uses. In most cases, fishing is considered the intended use.
For the most polluted, plans must be developed for improvement.
More than 1,000 river and stream segments in Georgia still don’t support their designated uses, the draft assessment shows. Neither do 19 lakes, including Jackson Lake and Little Ocmulgee State Park Lake in Middle Georgia.
Many of these designations remain unchanged since the last update by the state Environmental Protection Division.
But a handful of Middle Georgia rivers and streams have either been added or removed from the list of polluted waters.
The section of the Ocmulgee from Echeconnee Creek to Sandy Run Creek had been believed to contain too many polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), cancer-causing industrial chemicals that can travel up the food chain. That designation was removed after new tests.
Horse Creek, which flows into the Ocmulgee near Warner Robins, was also pulled off the polluted list, where it had landed because of its level of acidity.
Two streams in the Ocmulgee’s Middle Georgia drainage have become more polluted: Jordan Creek near Cochran, and Rocky Creek in Bibb County. Both are listed as containing too much eroded soil for healthy fish.
The proposed list is open to public comment until March 19, and an EPD news release indicates a public meeting will be scheduled for sometime within the next month.
Comments on the proposal may be mailed to Susan Salter, Watershed Protection Branch, 4220 International Parkway, Suite 101, Atlanta, GA 30354 or faxed to the attention of Susan Salter at (404) 675-6244. Comments may be e-mailed to EPDComments@dnr.state.ga.us, with the “305b/303d List” somewhere in the subject line.
To contact writer S. Heather Duncan, call 744-4225.