What is Storm Water?

Stormwater is precipitation that cannot soak into impervious areas such as paved streets, parking lots, and the building rooftops during rainfall events.  Because it cannot soak into the ground, it “runs off” the land into neighboring waterways.  Stormwater runoff often contains pollutants in quantities that could adversely affect water quality.  Stormwater pollution from point sources and nonpoint sources is a challenging water quality problem.  Unlike pollution from industry or sewage treatment facilities, which is caused by a discrete number of sources, stormwater pollution is caused by a discreter number of sources, stormwater pollution is caused by the daily activities of people everywhere.  Rainwater runs off streets, lawns, farms, as well as construction and industrial sites.  It then picks up fertilizers, dirt, sediment, pesticides, oil and grease, and many other pollutants on the way to streams, rivers, and lakes.  Stormwater runoff is the most common cause of water pollution.

What is Storm Water Management?

Stormwater management is the process of changing land use practices in the built landscape in order to maintain the quality, quantity, and rate of runoff as close to the predevelopment condition as possible.  This includes preventing runoff at the source by minimizing the amount of hard surfaces; providing areas to detain water and slow its progress toward the streams; amending soils in order to absorb more water; constructing filtration areas with vegetation to filter water as it moves across the land; and practicing good housekeeping both day-to-day and on construction sites in order to prevent sediment and other pollutants from washing into streams.

Why is Storm Water Management Important?

In areas that do not have man-made impermeable surfaces, precipitation normally takes a long time to reach a stream.  A small amount of water falls on the stream surface, but most of the water reaches the stream only after it has soaked into the ground and moved through the soils.  When impermeable surfaces are added to a watershed, the water reaches the stream very quickly and in much larger quantities than the stream is used to.  In addition, urban areas are normally serviced by a system of pipes and catch basins which are designed to get water off the land as quickly as possible and convey it to the stream.  This excessive volume of water is more than the channel can handle and erosion of the channel results.  When the channel erosion occurs, it caused cloudy (turbid) water that negatively affects the organisms in the stream and the downstream users of the water, in addition to destroying habitat.  It is, therefore, important to prevent runoff at the source wherever possible.

The City of Fort Oglethorpe operates a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) under provisions of the Georgia General NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) Permit No. GAG610000.  The required Notice of Intent filed by the City of Fort Oglethorpe to operate its MS4 was approved by GA EPD in April of 2006.

PLEASE REMEMBER…ONLY RAIN DOWN OUR STORM DRAINS.  The pollutions you prevent today will protect your drinking water supply tomorrow.


Stormwater runoff occurs naturally, but as development and the amount of impervious surface such as rooftops, roads and parking lots increase in a watershed, the natural capacity of the soil and vegetation to filter and take up rainfall decreases, and more rainfall becomes stormwater runoff. This can produce negative impacts such as erosion, flooding and contamination of our water.

Stormwater pollution can make monitoring and treatment of our drinking water more difficult and costly, especially in metropolitan North Georgia where almost all of our drinking water comes from surface water. In addition, stormwater can affect the health of the aquatic ecosystem and make streams, rivers and lakes unsafe for swimming, fishing or other recreational uses.

E-Verify User ID#140692

Authorization Date: 07/30/08


Get alerted about emergencies and other important community information by signing up for the Everbridge Mass Notification Program.

Register for Everbridge

Contact Us

City Hall Address:
500 City Hall Drive
Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742
Phone: 706-866-2544
Fax: 706-861-5086