STATEMENT OF ISSUE: On March 9, 2016, the City of Augusta submitted applications to dredge and perform other work in Lake Olmstead, Warren Lake, Hiers Pond, and Lake Aumond to restore and maintain bottom elevations to original design grades. The dredged material contains contaminants and there is concern that the project could adversely affect downstream drinking water supplies from the Augusta Canal and the Savannah River.
BACKGROUND: Savannah District issued permits for Hiers Pond and Lake Aumond on December 9, 2016, which included an upland dredged disposal location.
They City of Augusta proposed to dispose of the contaminated sediments from Lake Olmstead and Warren Lake in an open water borrow pit adjacent to the Savannah River. The Savannah District has requested information documenting that the effluent discharged from the disposal site will comply with State water quality standards.
By letter dated July 5, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided comments on the projects stating the disposal of the dredged material into the open water borrow pit would cause “significant degradation of waters of the US” and recommended that all material be disposed in an approved upland site. By letter dated September 14, 2016, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) stated “the project as proposed indicates a potential to adversely impact water quality and violate Georgia’s Anti-Degradation policy.” In addition, the letter emphasized the need for a contingency plan should the contamination be released into downstream waters.
In October 2016, the Corps requested additional information and encouraged the applicant to coordinate with GA-EPD.
The applicant is currently coordinating with GA-EPD. The Savannah District is awaiting 401 Water Quality Certification to ensure that the project would not violate State water quality standards or adversely affect drinking water.
DISTRICT POC: Sarah Wise, Regulatory Branch, (912) 652-5550.