Public hearing to discuss water discharge permit for new Vogtle nuclear units

What: The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is holding an important public hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, March 3 to hear the concerns of Georgia’s and South Carolina’s upstream and downstream residents, communities and businesses that rely on the Savannah River as EPD considers approving the surface water discharge permit (also known as a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System or “NPDES” permit) from Southern Nuclear for the two new Vogtle reactors under construction in Burke County. Residents are encouraged to attend and comment on the draft permit.

The Savannah River is the third most toxic river in the country and is already dealing with more pollution than it can handle. With two more water-intensive nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle, this already dire situation will likely get worse as the new reactors could operate for up to sixty years or more. The threat Vogtle’s expansion poses to the Savannah River has made the Georgia Water Coalition’s infamous Dirty Dozen list three times.

EPD approved the massive surface water withdrawal permit in December 2014 despite the majority of public commenters opposing the approval. In January 2015, the State of South Carolina legally challenged EPD’s decision. At Tuesday’s hearing, EPD will hear comments about the draft discharge permit.

When: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 from 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Where: Augusta Technical College, Information Technology Center (ITC) Auditorium, 3200 Augusta Tech Drive, Augusta, GA 30906. For directions call (706) 771-4000.

Who: Local residents and advocates for clean, safe and less water-intensive energy choices will be available for media interviews regarding the threats the Vogtle expansion poses to the Savannah River and the surrounding communities.

How: The public can sign up to speak at the meeting; a sign-up sheet will be available on a first-come-first-to-speak basis. The EPD is accepting written comments until 4:30 pm on Friday, March 20. Public comments may be emailed to with the subject line “NPDES Permit Issuance – Plant Vogtle” or by regular mail: Branch Chief, Watershed Protection Branch, 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Suite 1152E, Atlanta, Georgia, 30334.