WATER QUALITY PROGRAM
Collaboratively, the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity’s Preventive Medicine stationed at Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield (FS/HAAF) and the Installation’s Directorate of Public Works (DPW) continuously monitor the quality of Fort Stewart and HAAF’s drinking water. To ensure the water is safe to drink, the DPW Water Quality Program collects samples from various locations throughout the Installation's drinking water system on a daily basis.
FS/HAAF's drinking water system is comprised of 30 groundwater wells (20 at FS and 10 at HAAF). Groundwater is stored in permeable rock layers called aquifers, which are like underground lakes. The Installation's groundwater is supplied by the Floridan Aquifer. Before the water is distributed, it is chlorinated and fluoridated to promote dental health.
This groundwater well is part of Fort Stewart's drinking water system.
A Soldier washes a tactical vehicle at a washrack on Fort Stewart.
FS/HAAF began looking at water conservation efforts as early as the 1980s when the Installation constructed a Central Vehicle Wash Facility on Fort Stewart. This self-contained, closed loop system saves approximately 200 thousand gallons per day of potable water and was one of FS/HAAF’s first steps toward affecting a culture change related to water conservation and environmental stewardship.
The Installation is also recycling water that has been collected and treated to standards suitable for irrigation and industrial use. Through a partnership with the City of Hinesville, water meeting Georgia Environmental Protection Division standards for reuse is providing water to the Fort Stewart Central Energy Plant, washracks, golf course irrigation system, and Marne View housing area irrigation system. By using this water, which would otherwise have been discharged to local creeks, Fort Stewart has saved over 404 million gallons of potable water since the program began in 2010.
QUESTIONS ABOUT WATER QUALITY
How can I find out if my tap water is safe to drink?
Once water comes from different sources and can be treated in a variety of ways, the taste and quality of drinking water varies from place to place across the country. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates drinking water quality standards for our safety. All public water suppliers must meet these standards. Individual states may have even more stringent standards.
The best source of specific information about your drinking water is your water supplier. Water suppliers that serve the same people year-round are required to send their customers an annual Water Quality Report. The current FS/HAAF Water Quality Report is included on this page. Please contact the Water Quality Program at (912) 767-2010 with any questions.
How will I know if my water is not safe to drink?
Your water supplier must notify you by newspaper, mail, radio, TV, or hand-delivery if your water does not meet U.S. EPA or state standards or if there is a waterborne disease emergency. The notice will describe any precautions you need to take. Follow the advice of your water supplier if you ever receive such a notice.
What's this Drinking Water Quality Report that was delivered to my home?
Water suppliers must deliver annual Drinking Water Quality Reports to their customers. These reports tell consumers what contaminants have been detected in their drinking water, how these detection levels compare to drinking water standards, and where their water comes from.The reports must be provided before July 1 of each year. FS/HAAF hand delivers these reports to housing residents, posts them in motorpools, and publishes it in the Installation’s newspaper, The Frontline. The current FS/HAAF Water Quality Report is included on this page.
I don't like my tap water. What's wrong with it?
Even when water meets the U.S. EPA’s standards, you may still object to its taste, smell, or appearance. The U.S. EPA sets secondary standards based on these aesthetic characteristics (not health effects) which water systems and states can choose to adopt. Two common complaints about water aesthetics are temporary cloudiness (typically caused by air bubbles) or chlorine taste (which can be improved by letting the water stand exposed to the air before drinking). Another complaint is the smell. Our water source is high in sulfur. You might occasionally find that it smells of sulfur (“rotten eggs”). This can typically be resolved by running the hot water until it runs cool. If you still have the rotten egg smell you may have a problem with your hot water tank.
If you are living in on-post housing, contact the Housing Manager at (912) 408-2460. For questions regarding aesthetics or health concerns regarding FS/HAAF's drinking water, please call the Environmental Office at (912) 767-2010 or the Environmental Health Office at (912) 435-5433.
What can I do to help conserve water?
When it comes to conserving water,small changes can have a big impact. Here are some ways that you can help conserve water.
- Turn water off while shaving and/or brushing your teeth.
- Take a shower instead of a bath.
- Reduce shower time by five minutes.
- Only run washing machine/dishwasher for full loads.
- Periodically check for toilet and faucet leaks.
- Install water-saving shower heads, faucets, and toilets.
- Irrigate in accordance with FS/HAAF's irrigation schedule.
What should I do if a drought is declared?
When you get word that the GA Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has declared a drought, you will be required to respond in a certain way depending on the level of the drought - which will be determined by the GA EPD. To learn more about the different drought response levels, please see the Overview of Drought Response Levels document on this page.
Why do we have a water problem?
Some of the problems associated with water drinking water availability in Coastal Georgia includes but are not limited to, Aquifer recharge and saltwater intrusion. In regard to Aquifer recharge, one would think that when we receive an excessive amount of rain, there should not be a shortage. Please keep in mind that just because it rains in our area does not mean that we have additional drinking water. The Installation's drinking water is extracted from several wells that are approximately 500-feet deep. The water in these wells is protected by a confining clay layer, which prevents recharge due to local precipitation. The recharge area for our wells is approximately 100 miles away from the Installation in the area of Dublin, GA.
Another area of concern is saltwater intrusion. Additional water treatment costs associated with saltwater intrusion can result in additional cost to customers. One of the main causes of saltwater intrusion in our area is overuse. The GA EPD employs measures such as withdrawal permits and drought levels to assist in the prevention of overuse.
What should I do if a Boil Water Advisory is issued?
Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions During a Boil Water Advisory document on this page.
After a Boil Water Advisory has been lifted, are there special steps I should take?
Yes. You should take the following steps after a Boil Water Advisory is lifted.
- Flush household pipes/faucets first: run all your cold water faucets on full for at least five minutes each. If your service connection is long or complex (like in an apartment building) consider flushing for a longer period.
- Automatic ice makers: Dump existing ice and flush by making and discarding three batches of ice cubes. Wipe down the ice bin with a disinfectant. Increase to five batches if your water feed line to the machine is longer than 20 feet.
- Hot water heaters, water coolers, inline filters, and other appliances with direct water connections or water tanks: run enough water to completely replace at least one full volume of all lines and tanks. Simply run your hot water until the water becomes tepid. Similarly, run the cold water out of the water coolers. Dependent upon tank size, this could take 15-45 minutes.
- Replace any water filters.
HAAF Groundwater Permits
FS Groundwater Permits
Upper Floridan Aquifer Withdrawal
Overview of Drought Response Levels
Minimum Standards for Public Systems
The Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield (FS/HAAF) Wastewater Program’s responsibilities are to support all military training operations; ensure the Installation is compliant with all state issued permits as well as all federal, state, and local regulations; ensure all new lift stations, septic tanks, and/or force main extensions are properly permitted; and sanitary spills are cleaned up in accordance with State regulations.
FORT STEWART PERMITS
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
Evans Army Airfield - Land Application System
Tactical Exercise (TAC-X) - Land Application System
Camp Oliver - Land Application System
Wright Army Airfield - Land Application System
The Wastewater Treatment Plant shown here is located at Evans Army Airfield on Fort Stewart.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I see water bubbling up from the ground, or seeping from under a manhole, what should I do?
Contact the DPW service order desk immediately at (912) 767-2883. Water bubbling from the ground is typically a sign of a water or sewer line break. Water seeping from under a manhole usually occurs when there is a blockage in the sanitary system and causes a release of sanitary waste into the environment.
Where does the treated water go?
It depends on the type of permit the treatment plant is covered under. National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits discharge to surface waters (i.e. rivers, streams, creeks) while Land Application System (LAS) permits discharge to the land through irrigation methods. The treatment plant on Fort Stewart is covered under an NPDES permit, which is permitted to discharge 7.15 million gallons per day into Taylors Creek.
Is it safe to eat fish caught on Fort Stewart after this water is discharged there?
Fort Stewart has some of the best fishing in the area and attracts hundreds of anglers each year. Fishing has never been hampered by the Installation's treatment plants, which have been in operation since 1985. Fort Stewart's treatment plants are permitted and inspected by the GA EPD. Discharge limits for the plants are set to be protective of human health and the environment. Fishing quality may also be impacted by upstream contributors such as farming and/or industrial operations. In the event that fish in any of Fort Stewart's ponds, lakes, or rivers are determined to be unsafe for consumption, notices will be sent via Marne Message, The Frontline newspaper, surrounding area newspapers, local television news channels, local radio stations, as well as Facebook and Twitter. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR) samples fish from Georgia’s rivers, lakes, and creeks each year to test for contaminants. For more information, visit the Fish Consumption Guidelines page of the GA DNR website.
The Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield (FS/HAAF) Stormwater Program is responsible for ensuring that the Installation meets local, state, and federal requirements with regard to stormwater permitting and water quality protection. This is accomplished by reviewing and monitoring construction sites/plans and industrial activities, conducting inspections, analyzing water quality samples, managing hazardous materials, operating an emergency response team for hazardous material spills, and educating the FS/HAAF community through public outreach.
Stormwater runoff is water from rain or melting snow that “runs off” driveways, parking lots, roads, yards, rooftops, and other hard surfaces. These impervious surfaces prevent the water from soaking into the ground, which creates a veritable pollution cocktail. The stormwater picks up chemicals, bacteria, sediment, and trash as it travels and carries these pollutants into storm sewer systems or directly into ponds, creeks, rivers, or wetland areas. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water.
MUNICIPAL SEPARATE STORM SEWER SYSTEM (MS4)
FS - MS4 Stormwater Management Plan
HAAF - MS4 Stormwater Management Plan
Dry Weather Screening Procedures
Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination Guidance
Stormwater Maintenance Standard Operating Procedure
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT POLICIES
Policy Letter #10 - Dry Detention Basins
Policy Letter #11 - Stormwater Management Program
Guidance for Construction Site Runoff Control
Outline of Construction Permit Requirements
Soldiers assist in stenciling messages on storm drains in FS/HAAF housing areas to remind residents to assist in preventing stormwater pollution.
INDUSTRIAL STORMWATER DOCUMENTS
FS - Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
HAAF - Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
Secondary Containment Drainage & Inspection Log