Water Quality in Georgia

Georgia 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report

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Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act requires States to assess its water quality every two years.  To develop this report, Georgia compares water quality data collected across the State against our Water Quality Standards using the State’s Listing Assessment Methodology and places each water into one of three broad assessment categories; 1) supporting their designated use; 2) not supporting their designated use; or 3) assessment pending.  Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires States to submit a list of all waters that are not supporting their designated uses and need to have a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) developed.

Georgia publishes the 305(b)/303(d) integrated report which is titled “Water Quality in Georgia”, the 305(b)/303(d) list of waters is found in Appendix A of this report. This list is organized by waterbody type (e.g. Rivers/Streams, Lakes/Reservoirs, etc.), provides the name, location, and assessment category. If the designated use is not being supported, causes of impairment are listed along with potential sources of pollutants. 

Prioritization Framework for Georgia 303(d) Waters

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In December 2013 U.S. EPA released a new Long-Term Vision for Assessment, Restoration, and Protection of waters under the Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Program (Long-Term Vision). In accordance with this Long-Term Vision, GA EPD developed a  Priority Framework describing how EPD would prioritize waters on the 303(d) List for development of TMDLs or TMDL Alternatives. A List of Priority Waters was also developed. This List included Lake Lanier and Carters Lake for Chlorophyll a impairments, the Savannah Harbor for a dissolved oxygen impairment, a portion of the Coosa River for a Temperature impairment, four coastal beaches for bacteria impairments and portions of the Ochlockone River Basin for nutrient impairments in Lake Talquin (located in Florida). The Ochlockonee River Basin was removed from USEPA’s official List of Priority Waters for Georgia because there was no way to track the protection of the watershed as opposed to protection of an individual water body. Under the Long-Term Vision, States were to complete TMDLs or TMDL Alternatives for their Priority Waters by 2022. EPD completed 100% of plans for our Priority Waters being tracked by EPA. Georgia also completed many other TMDLs during the first Vision period based on our rotating basin approach. 

The timeline for the first Long-Term Vision period is coming to an end in 2022. USEPA, in consultation with States and Authorized Tribes, is developing new Long-Term Vision Guidance documents that will be completed by Fall of 2022. Under this new Long-Term Vision Document, States will develop a new Priority Framework to guide the decision process on what TMDLs, TMDL Alternatives, or Protection Plans will be prioritized. Once USEPA finishes its new Long-Term Vision Guidance documents, there will be opportunities for public involvement in development of the State’s new Priority Framework and the selection of Priority Waters. The new Long-Term Vision period will begin in 2024.  

To bridge the time period from the end of the first and the start of the second Long-Term Visions, USEPA has asked States to develop a List of Priority Waters for which TMDLs, TMDL Alternatives or Protection Plans will be drafted in Federal Fiscal Years 2023 and 2024. During our “bridge period”, EPD is planning to focus on bacteria TMDLs. The Board of Natural Resources adopted new bacteria criteria for waters with designated uses of “Fishing” and “Drinking Water” at its January 28, 2022 meeting. EPD plans to complete all TMDLs for waters in Category 5 for fecal coliform before 2024. These TMDLs will also address the new bacteria criteria. In addition, EPD plans to develop an addendum for each existing TMDL for fecal coliform bacteria to address the new bacteria criteria (E. coli or enterococci) and will provide the appropriate TMDL and WLAs for the new bacteria criteria.

Guidance for Submitting Data For 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report

Most data used to develop the 305(b)/303(d) list of waters is collected by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, one of our sister agencies (Wildlife Resource Division, Coastal Resources Division, Parks and Historic Sites Division) or the USGS.  Third parties such as local governments, universities, environmental groups, industries, etc. also submit data for use in development of the 305(b)/303(d) list.  In accordance with Chapter 391-3-6-.03(13) of the Rules and Regulations for Water Quality Control, outside parties who wish to submit data for use in the 305(b)/303(d) listing process must submit and receive approval of a Sampling Quality Assurance Plan (SQAP).  The purpose of this plan is to ensure that the data collected is of sufficient quality and quantity to make sound assessment decisions.  Guidance for preparing a submitting a SQAP is provided below.

Deadlines for Submitting Data for Use in the 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report

A public notice soliciting data for use in the development of the 2024 305(b)/303(d) List of Waters was issued on February 1, 2023.  Data are to be submitted by July 3, 2023.  Details regarding requirements for submission of data can be found in the public notice 

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Georgia's 2022 305(b)/303(d) List Documents - Approved by U.S. EPA April 22, 2022

2022 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report

Water Quality in Georgia (2020-2021)

This document can also be viewed online as an interactive story map

Appendix A – 2022 List of Waters

The supporting documents below provide additional information regarding the 2022 305(b)/303(d) List of Waters.  A brief explanation as to how the list was developed and a description of how it is organized is provided in “Description of the  305(b)/303(d) List of Waters”.  It is recommended that those not familiar with the 305b/303d List of Waters read this document.

Historical 305(b)/303(d) Documents

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2020 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report ( Water Quality in Georgia 2018-2019 )

Approved by U.S. EPA August 5, 2020

This document can also be viewed online as an interactive story map

Appendix A – 2020 List of Waters

Supporting Documents

2018 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report ( Water Quality in Georgia 2016-2017 )

Approved by U.S. EPA June 14, 2019

Appendix A – 2018 List of Waters

Supporting Documents

2016 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report ( Water Quality in Georgia 2014-2015 )

Approved by USEPA October 4, 2018

Appendix A (2016 List of Waters)

Supporting Documents

2014 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report ( Water Quality in Georgia 2012-2013 )

Appendix A (2014 List of Waters)

2012 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report ( Water Quality in Georgia 2010-2011 )

Appendix A (2012 List of Waters)

2010 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report ( Water Quality in Georgia 2008-2009 )

Appendix A (2010 List of Waters)

2008 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report ( Water Quality in Georgia 2006-2007 )

Appendix A (2008 List of Waters)

Appendix B – Fish Consumption Guidelines for Year 2007

2006 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report ( Water Quality in Georgia 2004-2005 )

Appendix  (2006 List of Waters)

Appendix B – Waters Added to Georgia’s 305(b)/303(d) List by US EPA

Appendix C – Fish Consumption Guidelines for Year 2005

2004 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report ( Water Quality in Georgia 2002-2003 )

2002 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report ( Water Quality in Georgia 2000-2001 )

305(b)/303(d) GIS Data Sets

GIS Data Sets (state-wide version) for Georgia's Integrated 305(b)/303(d) Reports can be found here. Also on this page are coverages of river basins, groundwater recharge areas, hydrologic unit codes (HUCs), landfills, RiverCare 2000, and the Georgia GIS Clearinghouse.