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        August 17, 2022


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Georgia Spills Report for the week of July 18-24, 2022



By Gillian Ward

Georgia EPD 24-hour Emergency Operations Center 1-800-241-4113

National Response Center (NRC) at 1-800-424-8802

24-hour emergency line staffed by US Coast Guard for oil spills on water.

As per EPA Oil Discharge Reporting Requirements, the reportable amount of spilled oil product is any amount that leaves a visible sheen on the surface or sludge at the bottom of the water body. Such spills are to be reported immediately (within 15 minutes). Spills from a vessel into navigable waterways are to be reported to the NRC in compliance with the Discharge of Oil Regulation and Prevention of Oil Pollution regulation of the EPA.

From Georgia EPD Emergency Operations Centre, “oil” includes but is not limited to: gasoline, crude oil, fuel oil, diesel oil, lubricating oil, sludge, oil refuse, oil mixed with wastes, and any other petroleum-related product. Accidental discharges of oil during maintenance of one’s own personal vehicle or farm machinery shall be exempt from the reporting requirement.

Note that all spills should be cleaned up, whether or not they are reportable.

WTGA lists oil, diesel, gasoline, sewage and other hazardous materials spills as recorded in the Complaint Tracking System Public Portal. Complaints of spills over 40 gallons, spills of toxic chemicals and spills impacting water are reported here in the watershed where they occurred. 

1 Gulf North

1a Tennessee River Watershed

The Tennessee River collects rainfall and runoff for the Ohio River system, which joins the Mississippi and empties out into the Gulf of Mexico. While no part of the Tennessee River itself passes through Georgia, there are tributary creeks originating in north Georgia that cross the state line and join up with Tennessee waters.

-no spills reported as of Jul 15, 2022

1b Coosa River Watershed

The Coosa River is a collection of several tributary rivers gathered from northwest Georgia. At the beginning of this system, the Conasauga River and Coosawattee Rivers join up to form the Oostanaula River. The Oostanaula in turn joins flow with the Etowah River system to form the Coosa River. 

  • No spills reported as of Jul 15, 2022

1c Tallapoosa River Watershed

The Tallapoosa River originates in northwest Georgia, draining an area of Paulding and Haralson counties before crossing the state line and joining the Coosa River, forming the Alabama River.

  • No spills reported as of Jul 15, 2022

2 Gulf West

2a Chattahoochee River Watershed

The Chattahoochee headwaters form up near Helen, in northeast Georgia in the Appalachian Mountains. From Union County, the Chattahoochee flows southwest, through the capital and then south, forming the state border with Alabama, terminating in Lake Seminole.

◆ July 11, 4 pm, caller reported running over debris on the westbound lane of State Route 285 at Smyrna, puncturing a fuel tank, and releasing an unknown amount of diesel fuel to the roadway surface. Investigator spoke with Georgia DOT, the response crew had contained the spill, estimated at 50 to 60 gallons using granular sorbent. No impact to state waterways. (File#100700 closed July 16, 2022)

  • July 3, 2022, a reported release of 14,200 gallons of sewage into Sugar Creek at 3100 block of Cottonwood Dr. in Atlanta (Dekalb County) (#100639), the release was caused by a grease blockage in a sewer main. Incident response notes that the blockage was cleared and the main returned to service. No fish kill noted in this report, the follow up assigned to Watershed Protection Branch. Complaint file closed July 6, 2022.

Update: Jul 14, 2022, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Watershed Compliance unit responded to WTGA inquiry as follows:

 “Dekalb County currently operates under a Consent Decree administered by both EPA and EPD which requires them to quickly address spills, identify areas with recurring issues, and to document how those issues are addressed. The Consent Decree also requires that the County pay penalties for spills, and these penalties are demanded on an annual basis. For individual spills, the County is required to monitor the surface water in the area of the spill for one year for several parameters and submit the results for EPD’s review. The County is responsible to take action to prevent future spills. ”

Further, “The County samples dissolved oxygen (DO), pH, fecal coliform, and temperature for 12 months and submits the results for EPD review. EPD has not received any report regarding a fish kill for this spill. Generally, if a fish kill is reported, Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources – Wildlife Resources Division conducts a study to characterize the fish kill, and that information is considered in the execution of an enforcement action to address the occurrences.”

  • June 29, Global Warehouse LLC reports a spill of 100+ gallons of diesel fuel at Moreland in Coweta County. Georgia DOT sent a remedial contractor to deal with the clean up. No further action recommended by GA EDT. (Complaint #100603, file closed July 1.)
  • June 29, a refrigeration tank damaged during transport caused approximately 50 gallons diesel to spill, some part of which entered a storm drain and retention pond. Granular sorbent was applied to the ground spill, Clean Harbours has taken charge of remediation of the water body. (Complaint #100599 closed July 1)

2b Flint River Watershed

The Flint River originates south of Atlanta and gathers run-off from 7570 sq miles of Georgia as it traverses the course north to south, flowing west through Alabama to empty in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • No reported spills this week.

3 Gulf Southwest

3a Ochlockonee River Basin

Ochlockonee River originates in Worth County in southwest Georgia. The Ochlockonee catchment area drains a combined 1400 plus square miles of Georgia landscape before exiting into Florida and emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. Main use is for fishing. Two smaller and separate watersheds within the Ochlockonee basin, the Aucilla and Wards Creek each have their separate channels directly dumping into the Gulf of Mexico (not monitored). The main tributary rivers and creeks are the Little Ochlockonee River, Tired Creek, Telogia Creek and Crooked River (not monitored).

  • No spills reported this week

3b Suwannee River Watershed

The Suwanee River originates in the Okefenokee Wilderness, between State Hwy 122 and Valdosta Highway. The blackwater Suwannee and its major tributaries, the Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha and Little Rivers channel run off from more than 5000 sq miles from parts of twenty counties in Georgia before crossing over into Florida to empty into the Gulf of Mexico.

  • No spills reported this week

4 Atlantic Central

4a Oconee River Watershed

The Oconee headwaters form in Hall County, flowing southeast through Middle and North Oconee Channels to form the Oconee River below Athens. From here the system flows into Lake Oconee, formed by the Wallace Dam and Sinclair Lake formed by the Sinclair Dam. The Oconee flows down from the dams to its confluence Ocmulgee River, eventually emptying into the Atlantic.

◆ July 7, 12:30 pm 800 block of City Pond Rd in the Barrow County seat, Winder, reported an ongoing sewage spill coming from a new subdivision manhole. Following up with GDNR. File #100670 closed Jul 11, 2022.

◆ July 14, 6pm I-16E pass state route 31 near Dublin in Laurens County, 150 gallons of diesel fuel spilled on the shoulder and right lane from a stalled tractor trailer unit. The Georgia Department of Transportation confirms that the non-emergency HAZMAT unit has the spill contained, oil dry/sorbent pads used and waste to be contained for disposal. No soil or waterways impacted. File closed July 16. File # 100750

4b Ocmulgee River Watershed

Ocmulgee River originates at Jackson Lake, straddling Jasper, Newton and Butts Counties. The Ocmulgee flows south to join the Oconee River, forming the Altamaha River. Jackson Lake is fed by three rivers: South, Yellow and Alcovy Rivers originating in Central Georgia, all part of the Ocmulgee Watershed area.

◆ July 13, 10 am estimated 10,660 gallons of sewage overflowed from a manhole in Dunwoody, Dekalb County. Report indicates that some of the sewage reached Perimeter Creek. No fish kill noted. Dekalb County reports a grease blockage caused the overflow. The spill has been contained, the blockage has been cleared and clean-up is underway with Dekalb County Watershed.

4c Altamaha River Watershed

  • The combined flows of the Oconee River system and the Ocmulgee River system form the Altamaha, “the largest free-flowing river on the East coast”, according to the Georgia River Network.

July 9, 5 pm Vidalia, Toombs County; reporting sewage overflow from a manhole, 50 gallons a minute. No fish kill reported. File transferred to Watershed Protection Division for follow-up. File #100692, closed July 18, 2022. WTGA has requested more information from WPD.

  • June 30 reported 200-250 gallons diesel spill from Abilene Motor Express LLC; C & C Towing and Recovery assessed the spill in Treutlen County at less than 100 gallons, mainly contained within the roadway. The estimated 10-15 gallons spilled to ground will be containerized and transported to C & C storage facility pending final disposal. No impact to state waters. (Complaint ID #100618, closed Jul 1)

4d Satilla River Watershed

The Satilla River forms in Ben Hill County, flows south 200 miles to the Atlantic Ocean.

  • No spills reported

4e St. Marys River Watershed

St. Marys is a blackwater river originating in the Okefenokee Wilderness area, south-central Georgia. The river flows 130 miles and empties into Cumberland Sound in the Atlantic.

  • No spills reported

Atlantic East

5a Savannah River Watershed

The Savannah River originates in South Carolina, formed with the combined flows of the Tugaloo, itself formed by the joining of the Chattooga and Tallulah Rivers, and the Seneca River. The Savannah flows through east Georgia to its outlet at the Atlantic Ocean, taking run-off from an area of 5800 square miles in Eastern Georgia.

  • No spills reported this week.

5b Ogeechee River Watershed

The Ogeechee is a free-flowing blackwater river draining an area of 5540 sq miles entirely inside the state of Georgia. The North and South Fork Ogeechee Rivers (not monitored) come together to form the Ogeechee, which flows 245 miles and empties in the Atlantic. 

July 14, 1 pm caller reporting a spill of 500 gallons of gas due to operator error in overfilling an underground storage tank on Lewis St. in Metter, Candler County. (File #100744 recommended closed as duplicate, refers to File #100741 for actions taken. This file # does not display. Following up with Georgia DNR.









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