Water Quality

Water quality is essential to the economy and quality of life in Chatham County. Water from the Savannah River supplies many of our industries and increasing numbers of residential areas.  The estuaries function as nurseries for many commercially important species, and the health of the estuaries can have profound effects on the local fishing industry. Most residents of Chatham County enjoy some form of recreation that involves local water resources such as fishing, canoeing, birding or swimming, all of which require a healthy and protected waterway. Water pollution is often blamed on industry, manufacturers and water treatment plants. Pollution from these sources is called point source pollution because it comes from one particular point, such as a pipe emptying into a river. Point source pollution has been greatly reduced and regulated over the past 25 years due to the Clean Water Act. Any discharge into state waters now requires a permit and is monitored for pollutants on a regular basis. According to the EPA, the leading cause of water pollution now in the United States is non-point source pollution (NPS). NPS pollution comes form everywhere and all of us. Rainwater runs over the land and carries contaminants into our streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries. NPS pollution can include runoff from roads, sediment form construction sites, fertilizers and pesticides form lawns and agriculture, and oil, litter and other waste that is dumped into storm drains. Since NPS pollution comes from so many different sources and locations, it is difficult to control. It is up to all of us to prevent NPS pollution. Click here to learn how you can prevent non-point source pollution.


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To view details on the Clean Water Act please click on the image or file below:

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Small Concentrations of caffeine and medications for pain, depression, colds, and birth control have been detected in water sources across the United States, to include Chatham County. Limited studies have shown that these chemicals can have endocrine disrupting effects on fish and amphibians, limiting reproduction. Nearly 50% of Americans take at least one prescription medication and many more regularly use over the counter medicines. Often times unused and expired medications sit in medicine cabinets for long periods of time. For years the solution was to flush them down the toilet, but accumulation of pharmaceuticals in waste water effluent can have real impacts on our fisheries and natural ecosystems. Savannah’s medicine cabinet clean-out program is a FREE, safe, and convenient solution for our community. Please read the City of Savannah Medicine Disposal Program pamphlet for more info on this easy drop-off program or to obtain your postage paid mailer for proper disposal.

Additional information on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended disposal of medicine can be found EPA Guidance on the Proper Disposal of Medicines



Your local jurisdiction is asking residents to keep leftover grease and food scraps out of the drain.  Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG), the residue left over from cooking meats that hardens after it cools, can cause problems when poured down the drain and clog pipes in your home.  FOG and debris poured down drains can build up in drain lines and cause backups in both private and the City maintained sewer system.  You can avoid expensive plumbing repairs and damage to the sewer system by following a few simple rules:

  • Before washing, scrape or wipe cooled grease or fat from all dishware and cookware and put in the trash.
  • Avoid using the garbage disposal. Putting food scrapes down the drain or disposal can clog your pipes faster.
  • Small amounts of grease, such as meat drippings, can be soaked up with a paper towel and put in to the trash. Or, pour or scrape grease into a sturdy closed-lid container, like a coffee can, and dispose of it in the trash.
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