A three-year study on how septic tanks in Gwinnett County are affecting the water quality of Lake Lanier will soon get underway.
Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources spokeswoman Karen Shields said the study is being conducted by the county and the Georgia Tech Research Corporation.
"As we started looking at Lanier as a source of drinking water, we began to wonder what we could do to improve the quality of the lake as a whole," Shields said.
Testing will include sampling groundwater quality, lake water and lake sediment.
The study will cost just over $2 million. GTRC will use staff members from the Georgia Water Resources Institute and subcontract with the University of Georgia and Cornell University for some facets of the project.
"In addition to its recreational use, Lake Lanier provides drinking water for Gwinnett County and much of metro Atlanta, either directly or downstream from the Chattahoochee River," Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources Deputy Director for Engineering and Technical Services J.C. Lan said. "This research will provide data to help us better understand water quality in the lake and what can be done to continue to improve it."
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has recently proposed a total maximum daily load, or TMDL, for nutrients in Lake Lanier. These nutrients include phosphorus and nitrogen.
The research will help Gwinnett County assess which strategies may help reduce nutrient loading, and provide a model the county and EPD can use to predict lake response to remedial actions, according to a county news release.