A Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Regulation of Aquifer Storage and Recovery

Regulation of Aquifer Storage and Recovery

During the 2016 session of the Georgia General Assembly, House Resolution (HR) 1198 was adopted.  That resolution directed the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to review its current regulations as they relate to aquifer storage and recovery to ensure that they are sufficient to provide for the protection and preservation of the state's aquifers, to revise such regulations when necessary, and to consider the availability of other water supply sources in the permitting of any potential aquifer storage and recovery project.  HR 1198 also directed EPD to issue a report detailing its review of current regulations relating to aquifer storage and recovery to the Board of Natural Resources.

EPD completed a draft report on its review of the existing body of state regulations in June 2017.  The draft report was updated based on public comments and a final report was provided to the Board during their September 27, 2017 meeting.

In the final report, EPD concluded that the existing state regulations are sufficient to protect water supplies, including underground drinking water, and provide for the protection and preservation of the state’s aquifers. While the existing regulations are sufficient for these purposes, EPD also identified four actions to facilitate a more integrated and transparent approach to implementing these authorities and therefore accomplish better outcomes for affected resources and resource users.   The four actions are:

Preparation of written instructions from EPD that detail, for any future applicant, requirements and expectations for timing, acquisition, and analysis of the necessary data and information on project-specific technical details.
Preparation of a pre-application project checklist to be completed by any future applicant.
Designation of a single individual within EPD’s Watershed Protection Branch to coordinate permitting and communication regarding a project.
Consultation between EPD and the applicant, early in the permitting process, to develop a comprehensive site-specific and project-specific “roadmap” designed to clarify timing, data, and information expectations as well as regulatory requirements.

EPD has prepared a draft Guidance for Regulation of Aquifer Storage and Recovery, which addresses these actions, and is now seeking public review and comment. 

A public notice announcing the draft Guidelines was issued on August 7, a public meeting will be held on September 12 in Atlanta, and comments will be received through September 21, 2018.  A copy of the public notice is available here

Based on public review and comment, EPD plans to finalize the Guidelines by November 2018.  Updates about this process will be posted to this webpage as they are available.  

At this time, EPD does not have any applications for an aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) project and is not aware of any ASR projects in Georgia in the design or planning stages.