The Stormwater Management Division monitors, protects, and improves the quality of the water resources of the city through design, inspection, infrastructure maintenance, water quality monitoring, and public education.
Stormwater runoff is water from rain or melting snow that “runs off” across the land surface instead of seeping into the ground. This runoff usually flows into the nearest stream, creek, river, or lake. The runoff is not treated in anyway.
Water from rain and melting snow either seeps into the ground or “runs off” to lower areas, making its way into streams, lakes and other water bodies. On its way, runoff water can pick up and carry many substances that pollute water.
Some substances – like pesticides, fertilizers, oil and soap – are harmful in any quantity. Others – like sediment from construction, bare soil, pet waste, grass clippings and leaves – can harm streams, creeks, rivers and other water bodies in sufficient quantities.
In addition to rain and snow-melt, various human activities like watering your lawn, car washing, and malfunctioning septic tanks can also put water on the land surface. Here, it can also create runoff that carries pollutants to creeks, rivers and other water bodies.
Polluted runoff generally happens anywhere people use or alter the land. For example, in developed areas, none of the water that falls on hard surfaces like roofs, driveways, parking lots or roads can seep into the ground. These impervious surfaces create large amounts of runoff that picks up pollutants. Runoff not only pollutes but erodes stream banks. The mix of pollution and eroded dirt muddies the water and causes problems downstream.
If you own a car, maintain it so it does not leak oil or other fluids. Be sure to wash it on the grass or at a carwash so the dirt and soap do not flow down the driveway and into the nearest storm drain.
If you own a yard, do not over fertilize your grass. Never apply fertilizers or pesticides before a heavy rain. If fertilizer falls onto driveways or sidewalks, sweep it up instead of hosing it away. Mulch leaves and grass clippings and place leaves in the yard at the curb, not in the street. Doing this keeps leaves out of the street gutter, where they can wash into the nearest storm drain. Turn your home gutter downspouts away from hard surfaces, seed bare spots in your yard to avoid erosion and consider building a rain garden in low-lying areas of your lawn.
Pet owners should pick up after their pets and dispose of pet waste in the garbage.
Keep lawn and household chemicals tightly sealed, and in a place where rain cannot reach them. Dispose of old or unwanted chemicals at household hazardous waste collections sites or events.
Never put anything in a storm drain. Don’t litter.
Participate in the next stream and river cleanup event in your area. Storm drain marking events – where the destination of stormwater is clearly marked on the drain – are a fun way to let your neighbors know the storm drain in only for rain.
Attend public hearings or meetings on the topic so you can express your concerns.
Report stormwater violations when you spot them to the City of Fort Oglethorpe Stormwater Department 706-866-2544 ext. 1206
The City has developed and implemented a SWMP to maintain and enhance water quality and ensure that negative stormwater impacts are minimized throughout the city. The SWMP consists of both citizen educational efforts as well as technical and regulatory programs. It is also a federal and state requirement that cities implement a SWMP.
The Federal Clean Water Act requires Georgia to comply with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). To comply with this program, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division requires local governments to obtain NPDES permit coverage by developing and implementing a SWMP.
The City’s public education and involvement efforts are directed to both the development/engineering community as well as the general public. The city posts articles and stormwater – related information on the website and social media and provides permit applicants with detailed checklists to ensure stormwater requirements are met. The city also hosts an annual community event to distribute stormwater information and inform citizens on how stormwater is addressed within the city.
An illicit discharge is a discharge of pollutants or non-stormwater materials such as sanitary wastes, yard debris and auto fluids into a stormwater drainage system. The City adopted an ordinance that establishes fines for illegal discharges. In addition, the city inspects stormwater outfalls annually to ensure non-stormwater discharges are identified and corrected. The City also posts information on the website that educates the public about stormwater systems, pollutants, and illicit discharges and responds to citizens reports of illegal activity.
The City has an erosion & sediment control ordinance and requires compliance with approved erosion & sediment control plans for building and land disturbance permits. City inspectors visit these permitted sites to ensure the plan is being followed and sediment is retained onsite and prevented from adjacent properties and surface waters. The City also enforces stream buffers which prevents development activities from occurring close to streams and responds to citizen reports of erosion and sediment issues associated with land development sites.
The City has adopted a stormwater ordinance and design manual to ensure the water quality is maintained and improved and drainage systems are designed to protect downstream properties. The ordinance requires that new developments and redevelopments have a plan in place to address water quality and water quantity impacts. The design manual provides guidance on the proper ways to select, design and maintain stormwater controls. The City employs certified staff to review land development plans and inspect land development projects in the field to ensure compliance with the ordinance. The City also requires a stormwater management facility maintenance agreement and inspects these facilities to see that they are properly maintained by the owners.
The City has programs to inspect and maintain stormwater structures in the right-or-way. Structures such as catch basins and inlets are cleaned and the roadways are swept to keep trash and debris from entering the storm system.
The City is only responsible to maintain stormwater drainage facilities, including pipes, outfalls, catch basins, headwalls and detention ponds, that are located in the public-right-of-way, or on city owned property.
Maybe. The best approach is to contact our Stormwater Department staff and they will go out and analyze the area where the water flows to make a professional determination on whether it’s a stream/creek, or a stormwater channel that has intermittent water flow that requires a buffer. An ephemeral stream, which is a stormwater channel that only has flow in it immediately after a rainfall, does not need to be buffered.
When more than an acre, or more than 5,000 square feet of impervious surface is disturbed, a permit is required through the state and city.
Full compliance with the City’s Unified Development Code Article 6 and other applicable regulations shall be required. A Registered Professional Engineer or Registered Land Surveyor shall provide an elevation certificate and other applicable requirements to certify that the design and methods of construction are in accordance with accepted standards of practice for meeting the provisions of the City’s Unified Development Code and Other applicable regulations.
Purchase flood insurance. Homeowner’s insurance typically does not cover flood damage. Flood insurance supplements your homeowner’s insurance. Just a few inches of water can cause costly damage to your walls, floors, furniture, carpet and appliances. A presidential disaster declaration is not required for you to file a flood insurance claim. Learn more about the benefits of flood insurance visit Fema.gov and FloodSmart.org.
The owner of the property where a detention pond is located is responsible for maintenance of the pond. Some ponds are located on commercial property and some on residential property. In subdivisions where ponds are located and deeded to a party other than a homeowner, maintenance is typically the responsibility of the Homeowners Association or a designated property management company. In all cases, the owners of the property where the ponds are located are responsible for maintaining them to ensure proper functioning. The City of Fort Oglethorpe is responsible only for stormwater structures which are located within the City right-of-way or City owned property.
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