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Niki Collins-Queen

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Featured Book
The Duke Don't Dance
by Richard Sharp

A humorous, but audacious and thought provoking tale of the "silent generation."..  
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Earth, the Forgotten Temple, A Spirit Quest

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Blogs by Niki Collins-Queen

Rocky Creek’s watershed in Georgia is the wrong place for a reservoir
12/22/2007 10:10:18 AM
Bud, my husband, and I were stunned to read that the city may rehabilitate Forsyth‘s dormant Boxankle Road water treatment plant. Rocky Creek doesn‘t have enough water to justify spending 1.4 million on refurbishing the plant.
When the springs and aquifers of Rocky Creek’s tiny 6.9 square mile watershed dropped 10 years ago the creek began drying up in the summer. The creek runs low the rest of the year.
The amount of water available for treatment at the plant is nowhere near the 1.5 million gallons per day the EPD permitted in 1973.
The change in Rocky Creek’s water table and the serious soil and sedimentation problem in the late 90s caused the pump station to shut down permanently in 2001. The knee deep silt degraded the pumping equipment and made the water more costly to treat.
Kevin Ferrel with Atlanta’s Environment Protection Agency (EPD) Drinking Operations Water Permitting Department told me water treatment plants that shut down for a number of years require a revised operating permit. He is familiar with Rocky Creek’s water flow problems and he agreed with me that refurbishing the plant would be a waste of money. The City of Forsyth would be fined each day Rocky Creek is drained dry.
Ferrel said Forsyth may have difficulty getting the operating permit if the Boxankle Water Treatment plant has to shut down a number of months each year due to Rocky Creek’s low water flow. To protect the watershed and produce clean water; treatment plant’s must operate year round.
Ferrel said water withdrawal permits are free and easy to get and that the EPD usually has around 60 permits pending each month.
Gary Garretson, a Stantec Consulting Services representative, told Mayor Pace in 2005 that the Boxankle Water Treatment Plant (with a permit that expires June 5, 2011) was valued between six or seven million. However, Garretson told me he was unaware of Rocky Creek’s water flow and silt problems at the time. He told me in 2006 that he recommended Mayor Pace ask the EPD to double the permitted 1.5 million gallons per day.
A NASA study published in the June 2007 “Journal of Climate” says there are major changes ahead for Georgia. It predicts that the summer temperatures in the southeast could average over 100 degrees with significant declines in rainfall the next 80 years.
Possible Solutions include:
Since Rocky Creek’s 6.9 square mile watershed table has dropped Forsyth should consult with an independent expert on watersheds before spending 1.4 million to refurbish the Boxankle Road water treatment plant.
A more viable option is for the city to partner with the county. Tobesofkee Creek’s large 45-square-mile watershed and the Ocmulgee River’s much larger watershed have waterways that flow year round. The 3 million gallons of water a day from Tobesofkee Creek’s Russelville Dam and the projected 5 million gallons a day from the Ocmulgee River’s Plant Camillia Water Treatment facility would produce 8 million gallons of water per day. More than enough to handle the county’s growing population.
The Boxankle Water Treatment Plant could be used as a water quality and water pressure boost site for North Monroe County.
Georgia is updating it’s Statewide Water Management Plan for the 2008 Georgia Legislature. Monroe County would be wise to update a Monroe County Watershed Map to ensure that Monroe County’s goals and needs are met at a state level.
Monroe County will need to network with adjacent counties particularly with those that share large waterways. Also to collaborate on better management practices and population growth projections with neighboring counties such as Bibb, Lamar, Butts, Jasper, Jones, Crawford, Henry and Spalding who provide water supplies or share watersheds.
Monroe County should have a water management plan in place before the final Statewide Water Management Plan is sent to the 2008 Legislature.


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More Blogs by Niki Collins-Queen
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