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southern company water and waste management

Water & Waste Management

Southern Company is committed to promoting responsible water use and effective waste management.


The Southern Company system’s policy is to conduct business in ways that are protective of the environment and communities, including our approaches to responsible water usage and waste management.


Responsible Water Use

Water is an essential resource in Southern Company’s operations. We are committed to responsible use and protection of our water resources, by meeting all environmental laws and regulations. We consider the impact of the Southern Company system’s current and future operations on water quality and availability, focusing on researching, developing, and evaluating innovative technologies that address industry needs, while providing benefits to customers and the environment.

From 2007 to 2022, the Southern Company system has significantly reduced its water use. We have:

  • Decreased average annual surface water withdrawal by approximately 70% through converting thermoelectric generation plants from once-through cooling to closed-cycle cooling and shifting our generation portfolio to lower water intensive technologies
  • Decreased water consumption by approximately 40%
  • Returned, on average, approximately 93% of the water withdrawn back to its source

We expect annual surface water withdrawal to further decrease as the Southern Company system continues to modernize its generating fleet and implement new technologies.

water conservation

Water Research and Conservation Center

Southern Company is a leader in water conservation, collaborating with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), at the cofounded Water Research and Conservation Center located at Georgia Power Company’s Plant McDonough-Atkinson in Atlanta, Georgia.  We are identifying, testing and implementing innovative technologies to reduce our dependence on freshwater resources.

Learn more

Effective Waste Management

As part of our commitment to providing a balance of clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy for the customers we serve, the Southern Company system operates a rigorous waste management program with the goal to safely and effectively manage waste, such as coal ash, from our electric generating facilities.

waste management

For example, we have a long history of beneficial use of coal combustion residuals (CCRs), and in 2020, we stopped sending coal ash and wastewater streams to unlined ash ponds. In addition, we adhere to state and federal guidelines regarding the on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel, in compliance with operating licenses. For more information about our subsidiaries' CCR plans and compliance please visit:

Southern Company, when practicable, also uses measures like replacing everyday materials with safer options, such as non-chlorinated cleaners and water-based paints in routine electric utility work, to reduce hazardous waste.

Connect with our sustainability team to learn more