What is Stormwater?
Stormwater runoff is the water that flows over the land when it rains. The water flows into gutters, storm sewers, and drainage ditches that empty into our local creeks and streams and ultimately discharge to the Flint River.
Impervious areas (the areas that cannot absorb rainfall – rooftops, driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, etc.) are the single most important factor influencing stormwater runoff. Development replaces natural ground surfaces with impervious surfaces, causing more stormwater to run off the land rather than soaking into the soil, resulting in increased stream flows and potential flooding. Impervious areas also contribute pollutants that are eventually carried into our rivers via stormwater runoff.
The City of Albany is responsible for the management of the public storm sewer system. Albany has approximately 533 miles of City streets with drainage systems; 100 publicly maintained detention ponds; 330 miles of piping systems; over 22,000 drainage inlets and other structures; and several hundred miles of drainage ditches, all of which must be maintained by the City to ensure they function properly when rainfall events occur.
Expanded regulations have recently been established by the State and federal governments to address stormwater runoff and water quality issues. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) regulates the discharge of pollutants in stormwater through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater discharge permits. The City of Albany must comply with their NPDES stormwater permit, which mandates certain activities including comprehensive maintenance of the stormwater drainage system.
The City’s Plan For Stormwater
The City of Albany has evaluated its stormwater issues and developed a plan to enhance delivery of stormwater services over time to better serve the City’s citizens, businesses, and property owners. The City plan includes:
- Continued operation of the pump stations and street sweeping program.
- Increased storm sewer system maintenance.
- $12 million of capital projects to address flooding.
- Expansion of the floodplain management program.
Paying for Stormwater Service
The City of Albany has decided that additional resources are needed to better address the City’s stormwater needs, meet customer demands, and comply with the unfunded federal and state regulatory compliance mandates.
The City is considering implementation of a Stormwater Utility for properties within the City limits to more effectively fund the stormwater management program through a system of user fees that will be dedicated solely to addressing stormwater management and drainage issues. A stormwater user fee will be charged to all developed properties within the City based on the amount of impervious surface on the parcel. The City believes that this is a more equitable method for funding stormwater services, since all properties will pay their fair share for stormwater services received.
What benefits will I receive ?
The funds received will be used to:
- Comply with the City’s NPDES Permit that is monitored by the EPD
- Bond future stormwater improvement projects
- Maintain and monitor the existing storm system to provide cleaner water in our streams and creeks
WHAT IS AN ILLICIT DISCHARGE?
An illicit discharge is the introduction of non-stormwater runoff, sewage, pollutants, or hazardous materials into the public stormwater system, such as catch basins, median drop inlets, ditches, or canals. Studies have shown that pollutant discharge from stormwater systems in dry weather due to illicit discharges can exceed the total pollutant flow from storm event flows. Stormwater systems flow untreated to natural water bodies and can directly affect water quality. Storm drains are there to collect stormwater runoff only. The dumping of oil, grease, dirty wash water, or-in most cases-anything at all into a storm drain is illegal and may cause severe damage to the environment. This includes solid waste, such as trash or yard debris.
WHAT ARE SIGNS OF AN ILLICIT DISCHARGE?
Signs of an illicit discharge can include: staining, residues, oily substances, odors, dry weather flows turbid (cloudy) waters, or suds.
Dry Weather Flow is observed when it has not rained for at least 72 hours and the storm drain has flow or the drain shows signs of intermittent flow (staining, odor).
Oil/Gas is recognized as sheen on the water. Natural sheens may be differentiated from an oil/gas sheen by swirling the sheen around in the water. If it re-attaches to itself, the sheen is oil/gas. Natural sheens will remain separated. Oil or gas enters water bodies via storm water runoff (spills while topping off at gas stations, oil leaks on pavement, etc.) and illegal dumping.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
One of the projects we have implemented is the Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program (IDDE). The Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission and the City of Albany are working to educate residents and City staff members about IDDE in order to reduce the amount of illicit discharges to our storm water drainage system as much as possible. We need all the help we can get to identify and remove any discharges to our storm water system that may be hazardous to environment or that may cause the system to malfunction. If you observe or suspect an illicit discharge, or have a water quality concern, please call 311, or the Engineering Dept. at 229-883-6955. The City’s awareness tactics include posting NO DUMPING, DRAINS TO RIVER stencils at catch basins within the city, implementing public education programs, and holding community clean-up days.
• What we do on land affects the quality of water we drink and use in so many ways.
• Many small sources of pollution add up to cause big water quality problems.
• Natural things such as soil, leaves, grass clippings, and pet waste can cause water pollution.
• Waste dumped into storm sewers goes into the Flint River without treatment.
• Automobiles and other vehicles cause water pollution as well as air pollution.
Everyone can make a difference!
- FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
- Stormwater Credit Manual
- Stormwater Presentation
- Stormwater Pollution Control
- Stormwater Management Ordinance
- Georgia EPD NPDES MS4 Phase II Stormwater Permit GAG610000
- Stormwater Capital Project Map
Albany Engineering Department
P.O. Box 447 Albany, Georgia 31702