RIVER - Christopher Dowell Photography

The Savannah River

The Savannah River runs for 301 miles. Unfortunately, it is abused along its entire route. The Savannah River is choked off by damns, covered by roads that leak oil and trash . It is constantly being dredged, blocked by the US corps of engineers, dumped in by factories and drained by nuclear plants. According to a report put out by the EPA in 2012, the Savannah River is ranked 3rd in the nation for the highest amount of total toxic discharges with over 5,000,000 pounds discharged in 2010. This is the same river that supplies drinking water to 1.4 million people. On top of the constant pollution, the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant takes 45 million gallons of water from the Savannah River per day. They do this in order to cool its nuclear reactors. Now they are planning on expanding operations that would lead to the plant taking 90 million gallons a day, as stated by the Savannah River Keepers website. In turn, this would deplete the dissolved oxygen in the river requiring them to put in Speece Cones. Speece Cones are essentially iron lungs to artificially pump oxygen back into the river. The same will have to be done down river at the Savannah Port where the Army Corps of Engineers are planning on deepening the river another 5 feet. This will flood salt water even further inland and put the Savannah Wildlife Refuge at risk of being flooded with saltwater and cause oxygen levels to drop below a livable level for marine life. Consequently, requiring another set of iron lungs. All this damage only to allow super cargo ships will be able to come to port at high and low tide. These projects put a tremendous amount of stress on the surrounding environment, by increasing boat traffic, concentrations of pollution and toxins, and low levels of oxygen. However, hope is not lost for Savannah, River. There are local people that are fighting to save our watershed. They are working to protect our right for clean drinking water and recreational uses. They are striving to keep our natural resources intact, and to guarantee a healthy future that has not been poisoned by industry.