Clean Water Atlanta (CWA) Overview
Clean Water Atlanta is the City’s comprehensive, long-term
plan to ensure clean drinking water for Atlanta, and clean streams
and clean wastewater
flows for Atlanta and its downstream neighbors.
The objective of Clean Water Atlanta is to create the cleanest urban
streams and rivers in the country within a decade.
Clean Water Atlanta recognizes that Atlanta’s economic growth,
jobs, affordability and quality of life all depend on clean water.
Since the early 1980s, the City of Atlanta has faced challenges in
complying with increasingly stringent federal Clean Water Act standards.
Those challenges eventually led to the City entering into two Consent
Decrees (CDs) to address operation of its wastewater facilities
sewer overflows (CSOs and SSOs, respectively) within the city.
On October 16, 2002, Mayor Shirley Franklin announced the new Clean
Water Atlanta initiative and unveiled a Five Point Plan for improving
the city’s wastewater system.
The Five-Point Plan includes:
1. Professional Management of Consent Decree Program
The Department of Watershed Management was created in 2002 to oversee
the City’s new comprehensive approach to solving water issues.
The DWM includes the City’s two water-related bureaus –Wastewater
Services and Drinking Water – along with Engineering Services
and the proposed Stormwater Management Utility. This organizational
structure allows DWM to plan, design, construct, operate and maintain
the City’s entire system of water and wastewater treatment,
pumping, collection and distribution, and proposed stormwater management
facilities. Veteran EPA administrator Jack Ravan was named as commissioner
of the new department. Several key positions have been created and
filled to ensure that the department can fulfill the City's goal of
operating as a "best-in-class" utility.
2. Strategy to Reduce Flooding and Pollution Caused by Stormwater
The City's goal is to implement a stormwater
utility by the end of 2003. A stormwater utility will provide a steady
and reliable source of revenue for reducing stormwater flooding and
pollution and maximizing the use of natural pollution-reduction methods
such as greenspace
and ponds. A Stormwater Utility Master Plan is being developed that
will outline the City's strategy for establishing the Stormwater Utility.
The Master Plan will also include the City's strategy for involving
the public in the implementation of the stormwater utility.
3. SSO Consent Decree Compliance
The First Amended Consent Decree (FACD) addresses improvements in
the City's sanitary sewer system and requires the elimination of sanitary
sewer overflows (SSOs). Under the FACD, the City is repairing, replacing
or rehabilitating all 2,200 miles of sewer throughout the City and
implementing long-term prevention and maintenance strategies under
"Operation Clean Sewer." Operation Clean Sewer is an aggressive
approach to inspecting, cleaning and relining the sewer system, and
includes a full-scale grease management program that was launched
in January 2003. Under Operation Clean Sewer, City staff will:
- Clean 25% of the sewer system each year
- Physically inspect 15% of the sewer system each year, and
- Re-line 24 miles of sewer each year
Operation Clean Sewer will allow the City to achieve all FACD obligations
by 2012 – 2 years ahead of CD schedule.
4. Water Quality Monitoring to Ensure Effectiveness of Clean Water
The City has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey and Southeast
Waters to implement a comprehensive water quality monitoring plan.
Forty stream sites will be monitored initially; twenty permanent sites
will be monitored over the next decade. In addition, the Long Term
Monitoring Program will help the City to track water quality improvements
associated with Clean Water Atlanta. The Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
will provide oversight to the monitoring effort, working with a Technical
Advisory Committee of local water quality, public health and environmental
5. CSO Consent Decree Compliance
The City has submitted and received regulatory authorization to
implement the refined Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Remediation Plan.
The CSO Plan, which must be completed by November 2007, will enable
the City to achieve the highest water quality at the lowest cost within
the shortest time frame. The City will achieve CD compliance using
a combination of technologies:
- Separation of two full basins
(Greensferry and McDaniel) and one sub-basin (Stockade); also eliminates
two CSO facilities
- Tunnel storage and treatment system to capture and treat 99%
of the sewage and 85% of stormwater from remaining combined area
The City's CSO Plan achieves 90% separation of the City's total sewer
system and provides for the treatment of stormwater within the combined
sewer area. More than two-thirds of water pollution is contributed
by stormwater. CSOs will be reduced from 60+ per year at existing
CSO facilities to an average of four per year at the four remaining
CSO facilities (from more than 300 to an average of 16). These remaining
overflows will be screened, disinfected and dechlorinated before discharge
to a receiving stream.