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Coastal Septic System Mapping

MAREX has created a GIS inventory database (WelSTROM) and maps of many septic and drinking water wells in eleven coastal counties. The information will assist county health departments with planning for future needs in growing communities.

The University of Georgia Marine Extension Service has implemented a Section 319 grant project to conduct a comprehensive environmental regulatory program for officials of local governments and homeowners concerning the relationship between individual OSDS (septic systems) and surface and ground water quality.

This program stresses the requirement for protection and prevention of septic contamination, thus calling for periodic inspection and maintenance by home owners. The primary step is to identify and locate existing OSDS and wells, with individual systems being visually inspected by local health department personnel.

The location of existing OSDS and wells is recorded with a handheld GPS to provide the geo-location within Camden, Chatham, Bryan, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties. The project produces GIS maps of OSDS and wells and utilizes the Southern Georgia Regional Commission's (SGRC) transferable geo-referenced and web accessible database (WelSTROM), a standardized method of recording all future OSDS installations for all of the Coastal Nonpoint Source area health departments.



Phase I: Project Activities

Project partners include the GA EPD, Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC) and the Coastal Health District (CHD). The initiative utilizes GPS technology to place septic and well system coordinates into a GIS database, linking this information to the state mandated non-GIS database which holds septic system permits.

The GIS database is comprised of layers such as flood plain, national wetland inventory, geology substrates, impaired water bodies and groundwater recharge areas, among others. This database gives the local county environmental health inspector the necessary tools to help protect public and environmental health when analyzing areas for development, and formulates a pollution susceptibility index.

As mentioned, MAREX has partnered with the SGRC to develop and implement an on-line database (WelSTROM) for OSDS information in the counties within the region.