Decentralized Wastewater Management

Staff Attorney Katie Sheehan developed this onsite wastewater management program guidebook to help Georgia’s local governments and other interested entities how to develop programs which ensure onsite wastewater systems are managed properly for the duration of their use. It focuses on management activities that occur after the systems are installed, as these activities (i.e., operation, maintenance, repair, and replacement) have historically received less attention than others.

She was assisted by an advisory committee made up of a diverse group of people with an interest in the management of onsite systems in Georgia, including state Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health officials, onsite wastewater experts, county commissioners, homebuilder representatives, EPA onsite wastewater officials, soil experts, and former EPD officials, among others.

Decentralized Wastewater Management: A Guidebook for Georgia Communities

Restoring the St. Marys River by Managing Onsite Wastewater
Treatment Systems

The St. Marys, a tannin-stained blackwater river, winds across the coastal plain for 126 miles from the Okefenokee Swamp to the Atlantic Ocean, forming part of the boundary between Georgia and Florida along the way. Despite its pristine origins, its water quality has been deteriorating; in 2010, 53 miles of creeks and streams in Georgia’s portion of the St. Marys watershed were listed as impaired by the State of Georgia, mostly due to low levels of dissolved oxygen and high levels of fecal coliform.

In 2011, local officials from Georgia and Florida partnered with the UGA River Basin Center to seek solutions, starting with Horsepen Creek in Camden County, Georgia, a direct tributary to the St. Marys that is impaired due to fecal coliform. RBC faculty, staff and students set out to examine the extent to which failing onsite wastewater systems contribute to the impairment and propose steps to address it.

Restoring Horsepen Creek: Recommendations for Camden County, Georgia, Management of Onsite Wastewater Systems, J. Scott Pippin, 2014. This technical document was produced in support of Section 319(h) FY11 Grant—Element 20, Grant Number 751-120145 administered through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division.

discharge pipe