A moratorium placed on new groundwater withdrawals in the coastal region, including Bryan County, isn’t likely to affect this area any time soon, according to local officials.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division announced on Monday that it would immediately prohibit future groundwater withdrawals in the Coastal Georgia counties of Chatham, Bryan, Liberty and the portion of Effingham County south of Highway 119.
A release from EPD states the permitting moratorium on municipal and industrial groundwater supplies from the entire Floridan aquifer due to saltwater seeping into the groundwater around Hilton Head, S.C., because of increased withdrawals.
Bryan County Administrator Ray Pittman said the moratorium won’t impact Bryan County’s existing allocation of about 2.1 million gallon-per-day capacity from the aquifer.
“Additional water withdrawal capacities are not being issued beyond that,” he said, noting the county would have a solution to water withdrawal issues before the county’s capacity is reached.
He said currently the county uses only about 100,000 gallons per day of its allocated capacity.
Richmond Hill City Manager Chris Lovell said the city is in a similar situation.
“Anything the EPD does it can affect us. However, the city, under our existing permits, we have plenty of capacity (from the aquifer),” he said. “It will probably not affect us too much.”
Lovell added the moratorium also wouldn’t likely affect many developers.
“If (the development) is in the city, we can provide water to them,” he said.
Additionally, Lovell said Belfast Commerce Centre, an 1,100-acre industrial park slated for South Bryan would not likely be affected because the city will provide water to that site, as well. The city last August signed a water-sewer agreement with TerraPointe, a real estate segment of Rayonier in charge of development of the park.
Read more in the May 25 edition of the News.