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VIDEO | Representatives from GAEPD held informational session and accepted public comments

GA EPD officials held the three hour informational session to go over their data and address citizens concerns. Citizens were able to ask questions and give suggestions for the well permitting process. GA EPD will continue to take comments through March 8th.
Citizens attending the meeting

Around 100 citizens attended the Southeast Bulloch High School auditorium on Monday, February 26, 2024 to meet with GA EPD officials and learn more about their consideration of permitting four new wells in Bulloch County that will supply water to Hyundai Metaplant.

The purpose of this meeting was to provide information on the technical analysis and modeling assessment of the potential groundwater impacts from the requested groundwater withdrawals for water supply to the Mega-Site.

Christine Vuody, Georgia EPD led most of the technical presentation and accepted questions from the audience.  The presentation along with questions and answer period lasted over three hours.

During the presentation Vuody went through a series of slides which Grice Connect has requested and will share upon receipt.  Vuody referenced a modeling tool that will allow residents of Bulloch County to place their home address and received modeling of specific impacts to their well.  We have requested access to this tool as well and will be sharing it as well.

Citizens spoke on a variety of concerns.  Here are a few of the concerns that were repeated:

  • How was the five mile radius determined and can it be expanded
  • Where will the funding come from for the managed fund proposed to help citizens with well issues
  • Who will pay for the monitoring of the wells
  • Can the surface water plan be put in place before the end of the initial permit which is 10 years instead of the 25 years proposed

Live stream

Grice Connect had technical issues with the live stream.  

You can view the first part of the presentation by clicking here.

Below is the remainder of the presentation:


Below is a summary of their findings:

  • Saltwater will not reach wells in Bryan or Bulloch County
  • Maximum drawdown (if pumping at permitted limits| in Floridan Aquifer from proposed withdrawals in the vicinity of the Bryan/Bulloch wells is expected to be approximately 19 feet
  • Wells set in Surficial aquifer will see no impact from proposed withdrawal at Hyundai site
  • Wells in the vicinity of the Bryan/Bulloch proposed wells and set in the Floridan Aquifer may see an impact
  • Permit Special condition(s) to address impacts in the vicinity Permit Special condition(s) to encourage utilization of surface water and to address any long-term impact on the coastal region's water resources

Proposed draft special conditions

Addressing Short-Term Impacts:

A) A joint Bulloch County and Bryan County municipal managed fund will be created by the permitted counties, which may include industrial monetary contributions and assistance, to address any potential unreasonable impacts to existing permitted individual Floridan aquifer residential (permitted by local health departments) or agricultural wells (permitted by EPD) in the nearby area within a 5-mile radius of the I-16 and Highway 119 interchange. This mitigating mechanism will exist for the term (10 years) of this permit.

B) If an EPD approved party conducts an independent investigation which indicates that an unreasonable impact to an existing water well meeting the above parameters is considered to have been caused by the Floridan Aquifer drawdown engendered by the use of the 4 municipal wells providing water to the industries at the Bryan county Mega-Site, money from the fund may be used to indemnify the affected party to solve such delineated water problems. These options may include methods proposed using best management practices of a Georgia licensed well driller, such as resetting the water pump deeper or by other proposed solutions.

Addressing Potential Long-Term Impact:

C) The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) strongly encourages Bryan County and Bulloch County to work together to expeditiously plan for the timely provision of treated surface water (or other alternatives) and the construction of all infrastructure necessary to deliver sufficient quantities of treated water to northern Bryan County and southern Bulloch County. This provision of treated surface water (or other alternatives) and the construction of all infrastructure necessary should not exceed 25 years. Such planning should be premised on making sufficient surface water (or other alternatives) available to provide for offsetting permitted Floridan aquifer groundwater withdrawals tied to the Bryan County Mega-Site and the future water needs of any additional industrial, commercial, and residential growth which may occur in this area because of Bryan County Mega-Site development.

D) Groundwater withdrawals from the proposed four (4) municipal Floridan Aquifer wells in the Green Zone of Bulloch County must be reduced upon completion and operation of infrastructure to deliver surface water in the area, in coordination and compliance with any contract restrictions placed on the use of the wells by the initial funding source requirements.

E) Any future suggestion to drill new Floridan aquifer wells away from the Savannah Cone of Depression (such as farther west or north) and then transfer or move any already issued permitted groundwater limits must comply with all EPD policy and permitting requirements in place at the time of such a proposal.

F) Bryan County and Bulloch County must submit an initial joint annual report to EPD within 12 months of the withdrawal permits being issued, informing EPD of the pending status regarding:

  1. The investigation of, and discovery or development of, sufficient funding sources to pay for any effort to expand surface water availability in a timely manner.
  2. All negotiations between the above parties and any others working towards the construction of necessary surface water and pipeline infrastructure.
  3. Contractual documents between the parties proposed or approved.
  4. A solid, firm and feasible front-loaded timetable for such developments.
  5. Any other information pertaining to this effort.

G) Bryan County and Bulloch County must also submit annual updates to the initial report, which must at a minimum address each of the five items above, summarizing progress and providing any new information available. As significant progress, changes in conditions, or changes in timelines may occur, the level of detail provided in the annual reporting should be sufficient to appropriately inform EPD of the project status. Three years after the initial report and every three years thereafter, Bryan County and Bulloch County must submit an updated report summarizing all progress taking place and setting goals and milestones to be achieved in the next three-year period. 

Written comments accepted until March 8

In addition to the meeting, stakeholders may choose to send written comments to EPD. Written comments may be sent to [email protected] or mailed to Environmental Protection Division, Watershed Protection Branch, Suite 1470A East Tower, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr., Atlanta, GA 30334.

The comment period closes on Friday, March 8. Please include the words “Groundwater Applications for Bryan County Mega-Site” in the subject line to help ensure that your comments will be forwarded to the correct staff.