Stormwater management has become an increasingly important responsibility for local governments. Here in Peach county stormwater runoff is managed by collecting it in stormwater systems using different collection structures. The water is then redirected and eventually released into local bodies of water including streams, ponds, creeks, and rivers.
New federal and state regulations require a new approach to stormwater management. These new regulations require counties to more stringently manage stormwater runoff. These regulations are aimed at minimizing flooding and enhancing water quality. For every rain event the county’s water resources are threatened by stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is defined as “the portion of precipitation on land that cannot be adsorbed by the soil and ultimately reaches streams and other bodies of water, often containing dissolved or suspended materials.”
Polluted runoff is the leading sources of surface water pollution in present day America, as stated by the EPA. Stormwater is capable of picking up trash, dirt, leaves, sediment, pesticides, fertilizers, oil, grease, chemicals, pet waste, and other contaminants as it runs off of developed land. This polluted runoff is referred to as "non-point source pollution" because the pollution comes from many different sources as opposed to "point source pollution" that would result from a single spill or illegal discharge.
Stormwater runoff eventually flows into stormwater systems and is released into nearby rivers, streams, and wetlands. This runoff is released untreated into bodies of water used for swimming, fishing, and drinking. Urban growth increases the need for effective stormwater management due to the fact that land development alters the natural landscape and flow of surface water. These changes increase the amount and speed of stormwater runoff. This is due to an increase in the amount of impervious surfaces associated with urbanization. Flooding, erosion, and the discharge of pollutants are also made more sever by urbanization.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) regulates the discharge of pollutants in stormwater through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits and the requirements of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. Communities that fail to comply with stormwater requirements could face significant monetary penalties.
The Peach County Stormwater Management Program (PCSWMP) has been formulated to manage and regulate stormwater issues within the unincorporated areas of the County. To implement the Stormwater Management Program (SWMP), Peach County will undertake various activities, including the cleaning of ditches and other stormwater conveyance systems.
The program will also implement a more proactive approach replacing aging and failing culverts and drainage structures to increase conveyance capacity. In addition, an ongoing regulatory compliance strategy will be applied as well as an increase in development regulation activities.
The goals of the PCSWMP include:
- Achieve Compliance with Local, State, and Federal Regulations
- Public Education and Outreach
- Public Participation and Involvement with Reducing or Preventing Stormwater Pollution
- Detecting and Eliminating Illicit Discharges to the County’s Stormwater Drainage System
- Reducing Pollutants in Stormwater Runoff from Construction Activities
- Regulating Stormwater Runoff from New Development or Redevelopment
- Reducing and Preventing Stormwater Pollution from County Operations and Facilities
- Routine Inspections of Stormwater Drainage System
- Drainage System Cleaning / Repair / Replacement
- Service Request Investigations / Resolutions
- Drainage System Water Quality Improvements
- Stormwater Planning and Mapping
- Ordinance Implementation
- Land Development Plan Reviews and Site Inspections