Flint Riverkeeper to GA Senate Aquifer Storage Study Committee

The same Floridan Aquifer underlies the Flint River, and our Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and other rivers, all of Florida, and across south Georgia all the way to the coast, where Gordon Rogers, Flint Riverkeeper, explained it to the Georgia Senate’s Long-Term Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Study Committee, 4 August 2014 on Jekyll Island. The ASR idea of pumping treated water into the ground for later retrieval is a bad idea, as Gordon spelled out.

See especially this part in Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers’ Comments to the Senate ASR Study Committee,

In central south GA, eastern and coastal GA, Floridan water is thousands of years old, quite pristine, and is so slow to recharge that essentially it does not recharge in comparison to human uses.

Remember, the Flint River basin where the Georgia legislature keeps trying to implement ASR is the next one to the west of WWALS’ watersheds, and it’s the same underlying Floridan Aquifer, except where we are it doesn’t recharge very much.

Here’s the whole Flint Rivkerkeeper writeup:

Monday, August 4th on Jekyll Island, Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers testified before the Georgia Senate’s Long-Term Aquifer Storage Study Committee. After introducing himself and the character and membership of the Flint River organization, Rogers made the following points:

  • Georgia’s aquifer system is very, very complex; it is actually a system of highly connected and poorly connected aquifers, vertically and horizontally extensive and quite complicated.
  • Several aquifers are regionally important, including the massive Floridan system, which recharges primarily in the Dougherty Plain of SW GA, and extends to and offshore of the GA coast, into SC, into north and central FL, and into SE AL.
  • The Floridan and certain other aquifers are the foundation of major pulp & timber industries, chemical manufacturing, row crop, orchard, pasture, and concentrated animal agriculture, and major wildlife and fisheries resources.
  • In coastal GA, two species of sturgeon are directly dependent upon aquifer seeps into river beds, and in SW GA Gulf race striped bass are directly dependent upon discharges from blue hole springs.
  • In central south GA, eastern and coastal GA, Floridan water is thousands of years old, quite pristine, and is so slow to recharge that essentially it does not recharge in comparison to human uses.

    In contrast, in the Dougherty Plan of SW GA the Floridan is in direct contact with surface waters of the creeks and Flint River. Every time water is pumped out of a well in the Floridan, between 0.2 and 0.9 gallons (depending upon proximity to nearby surface water) that would have gone to a creek or the river goes up the well shaft and out to a beneficial use of one sort or another.  Stated differently, on the average, for every gallon pumped out of the Floridan, 0.65 gallons fails to show up in the Flint or a creek feeding the Flint.  And, these days, due to heavy use and major drawdown of the aquifer during the growing season, some of the blue holes themselves literally reverse themselves during high water events, and the aquifer further recharges in a more dynamic way via creekbed seeps and surface seeps, bringing any material that is in the surface water into the Floridan in a very active way. These days, the water coming out of the blue hole springs carries 3 to 5 fold the amount of nitrogen that it did 20 years ago.  In essence, water in the Floridan Aquifer in the Dougherty Plain is surface water, and surface water routinely becomes Floridan Aquifer water.  Thus deeming Floridan water ‘safe’, even treated, to inject to a deeper, pristine aquifer is a false concept.  Such is the basis of the ASR [aquifer storage and recovery] project at El Model, and it is highly, highly risky.
  • The Clayton and Claiborne aquifers, sand-based aquifers beneath the Floridan, are the targets of the ASR project at El Model, and they are pristine. They should receive the maximum protection possible from intentional or inadvertent contamination. SW GA needs protection just like coastal GA does, though the aquifer arrangement, and the sources and targets for ASR are different.
  • In closing, Rogers pointed out that the last line of the Study Committee’s news release says (and he read the quote):  “The study committee will also work to prevent surface waters from being injected into Georgia’s extensive aquifer system, which will protect Georgia’s water sources from contamination”.  He stated that he could not agree more, and that he would email a scan of the committee’s own news release to be part of the record of their study hearings.

If you have questions or would like more information about Flint Riverkeeper’s comments, please contact Gordon Rogers at gordon@flintriverkeeper.org.

There will be another hearing held by the Study Committee, in Atlanta.  The meeting will be at 1pm on Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 in Room 450 at the State Capitol. The exact agenda has yet to be determined.

Concerned citizens can give input to the study committee by mailing or emailing comments to:

Laurie Sparks
On behalf of Senator Ross Tolleson,
Chairman, Natural Resources & Environment
121-G State Capitol
Atlanta, GA  30334