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Georgia Water Coalition reveals 2024 dirty dozen report, urges action against waterway threats

ATHENS, Ga. — The Georgia Water Coalition has released its 13th Dirty Dozen report, spotlighting 12 critical issues impacting Georgia’s waterways and the well-being of its 11 million residents.

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Contrary to misconceptions, the report does not focus solely on polluted water bodies but underscores the broader challenges threatening the state’s water resources.

In a statement accompanying the release, the coalition highlighted the consequences of rampant economic development on Georgia’s waterways. The state’s status as a prime destination for business comes with a price when growth outpaces planning, existing laws lack enforcement, and funding for vital agencies falls short.

The report outlines a range of concerns across various regions:

  • Abercorn Creek (Effingham/Chatham counties): Threats to water supplies due to growth spurred by the Port of Savannah.
  • Altamaha River (Wayne County): Continued pollution from a pulp mill impacting Georgia’s “Little Amazon.”
  • Conasauga River (Whitfield County): Persistent contamination of drinking water sources by forever chemicals.
  • Coosa River (Floyd County): Groundwater pollution during coal ash cleanup.
  • Flint River (Decatur County): Environmental risks associated with a monkey breeding facility.
  • Floridan Aquifer (South Georgia): Stress on water supplies due to coastal county growth.
Georgia’s Rivers, Streams, and Water Resources (Statewide):
  • Energy grid strain and water supply stress from data centers.
  • Soil contamination of creeks due to lax enforcement of development laws.
  • Slow progress in limiting algae causing pollution.
  • Concerns over the privatization of public resources.
  • Ogeechee River (Multiple Jurisdictions): Health threats from toxic “forever chemicals” in fish.
  • Okefenokee Swamp (Charlton County): State leaders’ actions endangering the natural wonder.

The report serves as a clarion call for action, urging policymakers, stakeholders, and residents to address these pressing issues before irreversible damage occurs.

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