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The Columbus Water Works manages water resources and water reclamation for the Consolidated Government in Columbus, Georgia. The board-managed utility provides water for other cities and counties in Georgia and Alabama. Located in the Middle Chattahoochee River Watershed, the program has evolved over the last decade to include a 95 million combined sewer overflow (CSO) control program, riverfront re-development, environmental educational facilities and programs for demonstrating wet weather technologies and water quality protection.

Watershed monitoring and modeling included chemical, biological and physical measurements and use of the data to calibrate the EPA BASINS Model and to provide an overall assessment of watershed health and priority for watershed management. Watershed issues included source water protection of drinking water supplies and water quality to maintain and restore beneficial uses. Results include protocols for characterization, model calibration and watershed yield quantification.

Overall program findings include load generation rates and yields for various pollutants correlated to watershed impervious area and aquatic biology indices. Loading rates between impervious collection systems (CSO) and erodible creek networks show exponential differences strongly suggesting cost-effective attenuation approaches to reduce annual pollutant quantities. Recommendations include a communications and monitoring network for drinking water protection and measurement of watershed progress and watershed demonstrations to develop long-term strategies for management policies and controls.

The Columbus water quality program includes a peer review process by a team of volunteer experts, coordinated by the Water Environment Research Foundation. The peer review was undertaken to assure sound-science methodologies were applied to measure and model watershed parameters and to evaluate the performance of CSO technologies.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-01-01

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