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City Now Accepting Public Comment On Wastewater Dumping, Sewer System

Heavy rain can make Atlanta’s sewers overflow. The city overhauled the system in an effort to make it happen less often.
Heavy rain can make Atlanta’s sewers overflow. The city overhauled the system in an effort to make it happen less often.
Credit RIC FELD / Associated Press
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The Atlanta sewer system’s permits to release wastewater into local rivers are up for renewal. The permits dictate how much pollution is allowed to flow into the Chattahoochee and South Rivers. (The discharge into the South River is via Intrenchment Creek in Southeast Atlanta.)

The permits come up for renewal every five years. What’s different this time is that Atlanta has overhauled its sewer system, and built tunnels that can hold extra storm water, to keep it from overflowing into the river untreated.

“We really view this permit as a significant improvement over the old permit,” said Jac Capp, chief of the Water Branch at Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division. “We’re continually working with the city to improve their performance, and they’ve made great strides.”

But Atlanta still has work to do, according to environmental attorney Hutton Brown with GreenLaw.

“You have kids that play in these creeks, and when you get waste into that system, that’s not healthy, it gets into drinking water,” he said.

The EPD is collecting public comments at a hearing Thursday evening and via mail or email until Feb. 13.