Augusta, GA -
Meteorologist Jason Nappi says, “A report comes out and it says the Savannah is the third most polluted in toxic chemicals in the country. What's your response to that because you're here, you're on the ground, you're testing the Savannah, what's your response to that?”
Dr. Oscar Flite, CEO of Phinizy Center For Water Sciences says, “Well certainly in areas there are concerns about high nitrate concentrations, but not in the Savannah River.”
This report shows more than 4 million pounds of nitrates were discharged into the Savannah River in 2012.
But what the report does not show are those regulated discharges or chemical releases are happening on a daily basis over the course of a year. The chemical is monitored, because too much of it can be dangerous.
“If the nitrate concentration is too high it will draw down, it will not allow our blood to carry as much oxygen. EPA regulates that concentration to ten milligrams per liter," said Dr. Flite.
For more than 5 years Dr. Flite has been taking water samples like this one for the Savannah River- one of the tests he runs is on the nitrate levels in the Savannah. His test results show the chemical measurement falls below the magic number of 10 mg per liter, regulated by the EPA.
“What we have been measuring in the Savannah since 2006 on a regular basis are concentrations that are far below that," said Dr. Flite.
That's the water that is actually in the river. What happens to it when it runs through the treatment plant? I made a visit to Augusta utilities and got the 2013 Water Quality Report for Augusta. It shows the water coming out of your faucet exceeds all federal and state drinking water standards. I also checked downstream of Augusta in Waynesboro. Burke County water also meets required guidelines.
“The water quality in the Savannah drinking water is very good," said Dr. Flite.