Unspecified future renovations to Savannah’s Wilshire and President Street Water Pollution Control Plants will cost millions of dollars, according to Public Works and Water Resources Director John Sawyer. Sawyer spoke to reporters Thursday after briefing city council on upcoming changes to pollution requirements. On an average day, Sawyer says Savannah’s plants fall well below the pollution limits set by their state permits. But those limits are set to change to bring plants into compliance with Environmental Protection Agency standards revised in 2010. At the time, the new regulations represented a 76 percent reduction in daily pollution along the length of the Savannah river.
Salty ocean water is intruding into the aquifer where much of the Savannah region gets its water. State environmental officials now are banning any new water withdrawal permits from the vast Floridan aquifer. A City of Savannah's water bureau official says the city will need to find new ways to offset water demands.
When a public comment period closes June 5th on final plans to deepen Savannah's harbor, expect encouraging words from city officials. The city's water department previously raised concerns over the proposal's potential impact on the city's drinking water supply. But the US Army Corps of Engineers' final plan calls for building a 75 million gallon reservoir.
US Army Corp of Engineers officials plan to release more information about how deepening the Savannah harbor will effect the city's drinking water. The Corp is revising a report on the project's evironmental effects. Savannah's top officials are pushing the project hard while the city's water manager airs concerns about saltwater.