Georgia assesses its waters every two years in order to meet the requirements of sections 305(b) and 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (specific regulations found in 40 CFR 130.8 and 40 CFR 130.7). The 305(b) Report describes the quality of all the waters in the State. The 303(d) List is comprised of waters that are not meeting the criteria for their Designated Use and/or have Fish Consumption Guidelines recommending limiting the amount of fish consumed from those waters. Waters listed on the 303(d) List require a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). Georgia combines the 305(b) and 303(d) reporting requirements into a single document called the Integrated Report. These documents are sometimes referred to as the “Water Quality in Georgia” reports. Current and historical copies of Georgia’s Integrated Reports can be found here: Georgia 305(b)/303(d) List Documents.
EPD publishes the Fish Consumption Guidelines each year. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide detailed information in an understandable format for people who eat fish. Chemical levels in the tissue of commonly eaten fish are assessed to develop these guidelines which provide information on how often these fish can be safely eaten. Waters listed in the fish consumption guidelines are assessed using USEPA guidelines for Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. It is important to keep in mind that consumption recommendations are based on health-risk calculations for someone eating fish with similar contamination over a period of 30 years or more. These guidelines are not intended to discourage people from eating fish, but should be used as a guide for choosing the species and size of fish to eat from Georgia waters. The guidelines are non-binding recommendations; EPD makes recommendations based on the waterbody a fish comes from, the species of fish, the amount of fish a person consumes, and chemical levels found in the fish tissue.