Morgan County streams pass inspection
By Matthew Burgoyne
Even with erosion, sedimentation, and the drought, the streams in Morgan County still meet state standards and qualifications.
“The stream quality in Morgan County is very good,” said Kevin Farrell, the Assistant Branch Chief for the Oconee, Ocmulgee, and Altamaha River basins.
Farrell works with the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) within the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The EPD is charged with the task of maintaining the environment of Georgia, taking “the lead in ensuring clean air, water and land” according to their mission statement.
The EPD monitors streams around the state. They examine the area surrounding a stream and perform numerous tests to the water. These tests measure the levels of dissolved oxygen , temperature, pH levels, and conductivity. These tests are done in the field. Samples of the water are also taken and sent to a lab. The lab tests the water for numerous other levels including biological oxygen demand, bacteria, ammonia, phosphorus, and nitrates, Farrell said.
Though the streams in Morgan County are meeting requirements, other streams and water sources in the state are not. If a stream does not meet standards, it is placed on a 303D Listing. Once placed on the listing, the issue goes through a process by which the state determines the cause for problems and the potential solutions. The state then works with the local governments to take steps towards increasing the quality of the streams in question.
“One of the most common problems for streams is bacteria,” Farrell said. This can be from a variety of causes, but it is normally due to a failing septic tank.
The hardest problem to deal with is direct discharge into a stream. General pollution caused from runoff from factories and other sources have great impacts on streams. Direct discharge of pollution into a water source is the hardest to remove.
The biggest problems facing the streams in Morgan County are erosion and sedimentation. Sediments threaten the aquatic habitat, causing numerous environmental concerns. The EPD continually monitors the quality of streams in Georgia and if a problem were to arise, the citizens of Morgan County would be the first to know. streams pass inspectionstreams pass inspection