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$560K could help clean up polluted Atlanta creek

001026 ATLANTA -Utoy Creek behind Beecher Hills Elemetary School - In recognition of Georgia Clean Water Month, the City of Atlanta installs stream protection signs after the ceremony- the school children enjoy the creek. (NICK ARROYO/AJC staff)
001026 ATLANTA -Utoy Creek behind Beecher Hills Elemetary School - In recognition of Georgia Clean Water Month, the City of Atlanta installs stream protection signs after the ceremony- the school children enjoy the creek. (NICK ARROYO/AJC staff)

The city will spend more than a half-million dollars to clean up polluted Utoy Creek in southwest Atlanta where high levels of fecal matter have been detected.

A grant for $400,000 from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will be matched by $160,000 from the city to improve the water quality in Utoy Creek, which flows to the Chattahoochee River near Fulton Industrial Boulevard.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources received funding for the grant from the federal government. The federal money will be spent measuring water quality and removing pollutants in the state’s “impaired” or polluted waterways.

A 2017 improvement plan from the Atlanta Department of Watershed identified Utoy Creek as having high levels of fecal coliform — or animal or human fecal matter.

With the funds, the city will add soil and vegetation along a portion of the creek that flows through West Manor and John A. White parks. The plants and soil will absorb rainfall runoff that carries bacteria and other pollutants into the creek, and keep out road sediment.

The grant will also be used to pay for a restoration project along the Utoy near the Outdoor Activity Center on Richland Road, officials said. That project will use rocks and tree logs to create a more natural stream channel, restoring the creek to its natural state and protecting the stream banks, city watershed officials said.

The city will also install bioretention areas to manage and prevent runoff in the areas of Beecher Road and South Gordon Street.

The Utoy Creek clean-up and restoration project is expected to begin next year and completed by 2022, the spokesman said.


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