Point-source pollution is the number one threat to South River. It comes from the end of a pipe that empties directly into a waterway from a municipal or industrial wastewater treatment facility. Most point source pollution problems have been eliminated since the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.Those that remain are regulated by state and federal environmental regulatory agencies.
Sources of point-source pollution that most threaten South River are Atlanta’s combined sewer overflows and DeKalb County’s sanitary sewer overflows. These wastewater discharges pollute South River with harmful fecal matter, chlorine and other chemicals, heavy metals, nutrients, and bacteria. Chlorine can be one of the most lethal chemicals to stream animals when released in even low concentrations. This chemical is routinely used to disinfect Atlanta’s combined sewage. Learn more click here.
The Snapfinger and Pole Bridge wastewater treatment facilities on South River are also point-sources but are now much less of a threat due to better regulatory enforcement and more stringent limits placed on the quality of treated wastewater that can be discharged into the river. The failure of our local governments to invest in sewer infrastructure and facilities that treat wastewater to the highest possible levels remains a serious threat to water quality in the watershed.
SRWA monitors point-source discharges in the watershed to ensure that Atlanta and DeKalb do not exceed pollutant levels set forth in permits issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. The Clean Water Act allows citizens and citizen-based organizations such as SRWA to take legal action to ensure compliance with state-issued permits and the Clean Water Act.