Summary And Conclusions

Results of legislation and regulations have been positive, due to active enforcement on all levels. Water quality monitoring by the EPD and under the NPDES program helps to evaluate progress and indicate violations. Water quality in the Upper Chattahoochee River, particularly in the vicinity of Atlanta, has improved dramatically with implementation of secondary waste treatment. Chemical, physical, and biological data all indicate a great improvement in water quality when compared to data from investigations done in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s (LMS, 1989). Although total loading of pollutants to the Chattahoochee River, such as BOD5, suspended solids, and phosphorus, have been reduced significantly as a result of major capital improvements to the wastewater and water pollution control infrastructure of the Atlanta region during the 1970s and 1980s, the dramatic improvements in water quality of the river tended to level out during the 1990s.

Contemporary degradation of water quality is attributed to rapid urban development, the expanding area of the outer suburbs of Atlanta, and nonpoint source loading from stormwater runoff. The Georgia Department of National Resources (GADNR) listed more than 600 stream miles in the Atlanta area as impaired in the 1994-1995 305(b) report, with less than 20 percent of the degradation in stream miles attributed to point source pollution. As a result of increased sediment loading from watershed runoff to the Chattahoochee River and the reservoirs, water supply intakes are routinely shut down during and after rainstorms.

Contemporary water resource issues for Atlanta include the degradation of water quality in rivers and streams, the adverse impact of stormwater runoff on public water supplies and recreational lakes, and probable limits on future water supply allocations under the tristate river compacts that have sparked "water wars" between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida (Kundell and DeMeo, 1999). Despite the successes of past water pollution control efforts during the 1970s and 1980s, the Atlanta region is now confronted with serious water supply and water quality issues that will affect the future economic viability of the Atlanta metropolitan region. To achieve the solutions to contemporary water quality problems required by state and federal agencies, regional cooperation is essential for watershed management (Kundell and DeMeo, 1999).

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