In 2008, CRK began monitoring for dissolved oxygen, a key indicator of a river’s health, at 15 locations in the river downstream of Atlanta due to our growing concern over low water levels possibly impacting the river’s ecosystem and water quality.
Low flow levels during the summer could be harmful to the river’s health downstream of Atlanta, and the health of the communities and wildlife dependent upon it; therefore, CRK initiated a dissolved oxygen monitoring program. Currently, CRK is the only organization or agency conducting routine monitoring in multiple locations on this stretch of the river downstream of Atlanta. We will continue to monitor at least every two weeks throughout the warm summer months when pollution problems from low-flow conditions are more likely to occur.
Since the 1970s, the state of Georgia has had a rule requiring that the flow of water in the Chattahoochee River above the confluence with Peachtree Creek in Atlanta be at least 485 million gallons per day, or 750 cubic feet per second. This volume was determined necessary to help dilute the treated wastewater and industrial process water discharged into the river daily by metro-Atlanta municipalities.
In fact, all of the discharge permits issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to these various utilities contain pollutant limits that assume this flow will be maintained. Our monitoring helps ensure that the amount of flow in the river is sufficient to dilute the wastewater and keeps sufficient oxygen in the water.