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Thursday, December 10, 2020
Our River Is Clean.
The Columbus Water Works has a long history of being a responsible community partner. This month marks the 25th anniversary of our investment of more than $100 million to construct a nationally recognized combined sewer overflow (CSO) control program that continues to protect our community and the Chattahoochee River today.

The combined system, located in an older section of town covering about 2% of the land area of Columbus, removes debris and treats stormwater before discharging to the river. The system has significantly improved water quality in this part of the river – helping revitalize our downtown that now supports a beautiful Riverwalk and world-class whitewater rafting amenities attracting thousands of visitors each year.

Today (December 10th, 2020) we are filing an appeal to the state’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) revised permit for the CSO system which adds costly and unnecessary requirements. This appeal is limited to the CSO system permit and not related to the quality of the drinking water that we provide. The river water quality through Columbus meets regulatory standards.

The EPD permit changes would force our customers to invest millions more with no real benefit to the river quality – placing an unfair burden on our community at a time when we’re already facing financial challenges from the pandemic. If the appeal is successful for Columbus, the river will continue to be of high quality at no additional costs. If unsuccessful, substantial costs will be incurred by our customers to “fix a problem that doesn’t exist.”

The Columbus Water Works team has collected and tested thousands of water samples on our CSO system, including eight years of monitoring the middle stretch of the river in Columbus. This proactive approach (above and beyond state and federal requirements) prompted the EPD and EPA in recent years to remove our section of the river from its list of surface water bodies impaired by pollutants, meaning it is no longer impaired by bacteria. Nothing has changed to warrant additional requirements on our CSO permit.

While we can’t support the permit changes, we remain a strong community partner in protecting the quality of our river and doing our part as responsible stewards of the environment and community resources. For us, it’s personal. Our employees and families live and work here.

We’re proud of our important role providing vital services that support the quality of life we all enjoy.

Click Here To View The Chattahoochee River Quality FAQs

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