Entering Floridan Aquifer Recharge Zone

Maybe we need signs like that around here to remind people that what goes into the ground comes out in our drinking water. For example, San Antonio has its Edwards Aquifer Protection Program. Maybe our local governments need to have Floridan Aquifer Protection Programs. Georgia state law seems to indicate they should.

GA Secretary of State has GA Code §391-3-16-.02 Criteria For Protection of Groundwater Recharge Areas. (more legible copy on GA EPD website),

Georgia's Groundwater Recharge Areas (1) Background. Variable levels of recharge area protection can be based upon the State’s hydrogeology (e.g., areas such as the Dougherty Plain where a major aquifer crops out would receive a relatively high degree of protection whereas other areas, such as the shale hills of northwest Georgia, would receive a lower degree of protection). Recharge area protection within the significant recharge areas would be further refined, based upon the local susceptibility or vulnerability to human induced pollution (e.g., high, medium, or low). The significant recharge areas have already been identified and mapped (about 22-23% of the State). Pollution susceptibility mapping is ongoing. Existing statutes are adequate for protecting the remaining recharge areas (about 77-78% of the State).


(2)(f)3. In the Coastal Plain, the significant recharge areas are WWALS Watersheds Groundwater Recharge Areas the surface outcroppings of the large and extensively used drinking water aquifers (e.g., the Floridian, the Clayton, etc.) and soils having high permeability according to the 1976 1:750,000 Soils Association Map of Georgia.

And according to Georgia’s Groundwater Recharge Areas, by GA DOC, significant parts of each of the WWALS Watershed counties are in those recharge areas. Looks like they’re mostly next to our rivers, Withlacoochee, Little, New, Willacoochee, Alapahoochee, Alapaha, plus Okapilco Creek and others.

What should we do about this? Well, the law says:

(4) Local governments having jurisdictional authority over all significant recharge areas shall adopt, implement, and enforce ordinances for recharge area protection at least as stringent as the standards developed by the Department of Natural Resources.

That law contains a long list of requirements, plus the GA DNR standards mentioned in it. And we could go beyond just the letter of the law and advertise the value of our aquifers. Maybe on roadside signs.

Owed to Kristofer Lee Graham.