Scientists in coastal Georgia are joining researchers Saturday in more than 160 locations around the world to take simultaneous samples from the world’s oceans – the first ever Ocean Sampling Day. Marc Frischer is a professor of marine microbiology at the University of Georgia’s Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. He says researchers aren’t yet sure what they’ll learn, but they want to collect the simultaneous data and look for patterns. “The attempt to synoptically, at the same time, sample the world’s aquatic systems – it’s not just oceans. There’s some freshwater systems as well – that’s unique. It’s an unprecedented effort.”
Fresh drinking water is becoming an issue on the Georgia coast. State officials are studying a potential new source. The Environmental Protection Division is looking at the deep Cretaceous aquifer because the shallower Floridan aquifer can't take any more pumping. But water from the Cretaceous aquifer is more expensive to reach. One study will look at new technologies designed to make it cheaper.
A federal Superfund site in coastal Brunswick is growing. The site is where a wood treatment plant contaminated the groundwater before the facility went bankrupt in 1991. Federal officials built an underground wall to contain the contamination two years ago. But a member of the Glynn Environmental Coalition says some chemicals remained outside the wall.
The remains of a Spanish and Native American settlement are falling into a creek. Archaeologists are busy documenting the site. But officials are discussing a long-term solution to protect the site of a 16th Century Spanish church.
The University of Georgia is joining the ranks of research institutions with robotic submersibles. Marine scientists next year will deploy the Salty Dawg, an unmanned torpedo-shaped device designed to collect data at sea for a month at a time. The robot is funded by NASA.
Public health workers in South Georgia are going house-to-house and yard-to-yard trying to find where all the septic tanks are. It's part of a year-long, federally-funded effort to map the tanks in 11 counties on the Georgia coast. Septic tanks are potential polluters. But the state has no clue how many are here.
An Armstrong Atlantic State University economics professor says he thinks next year will be the first since the 2007 recession in which construction employment inches up in the Savannah area. Michael Toma says local companies poised for growth include business and professional services like marketing and web design.
Georgia's environmental chief says he wants to continue talks with South Carolina over saltwater intrusion on the coast. A committee for years has been discussing ways to stop a saltwater plume that's contaminating wells near Savannah. But the committee hasn't met in months and South Carolina officials are calling more loudly for action.