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When it Rains, It Drains!

Stormwater runoff is rainwater that runs off of roofs, lawns, driveways & streets. Here are ways everyone can improve & even prevent the many harmful contaminants from reaching our streams & rivers.

Stormwater runoff is rainwater that runs off of rooftops, lawns, driveways and streets in our neighborhoods.  As it flows, it picks up dirt, leaves and grass clippings, pesticides and fertilizers, oil and grease, harmful bacteria, toxic chemicals, litter and other contaminants.  All of these pollutants are carried by stormwater into storm drains and ultimately into our streams and rivers. 

The City of Cartersville implements several federal and state mandated programs designed to identify and reduce pollution that flows into storm drains and streams.  Efforts include working with Bartow County to monitor streams throughout City on an annual basis to assess watershed health and to identify pollutants that may impact human health and aquatic organisms.  Representatives also walk local streams to locate pipes that discharge flow during dry weather.  The discharge from those pipes is tested to determine if it contains contaminants such as soapy water or used oil.  If pollution is present, the source of the pollution is identified and efforts made to eliminate the problem through education or enforcement (if needed).  In addition, City representatives inspect local businesses and industries including car repair shops, restaurants and junk yards to identify potential sources of pollution (such as used oil, grease and muddy runoff).  Potential pollution sources identified as a result of the on-site inspections are brought to the attention business and property owner along with requirements for corrective action.  The few businesses/individuals that choose to not to comply with local ordinances prohibiting illicit discharges and illegal dumping may be subject to additional actions including fines up to $1,000 per day.  The goal of the Watershed Protection Program is to protect water resources in the City of Cartersville through increased awareness and not enforcement. 

Businesses owners/operators can prepare for the upcoming inspections by cleaning up all litter and spills on their property, properly disposing of all contaminated soils and gravel and moving potential stormwater pollutants under cover.  Homeowners can protect local streams by minimizing excess use of lawn care chemicals and make sure all potential sources of pollutants, including pet waste, grass clippings and leaves, are disposed of properly.  Developers and contractors must also maintain compliance with local regulations for pollution prevention and erosion control.   Civic groups can help by conducting clean ups of neighborhoods and streams, and sponsoring and/or participating in recycling programs.  In addition, industries required to comply with the State of Georgia Environmental Protection Division Industrial General Stormwater Permit must submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) for coverage and preparing a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan or No Exposure Exclusion Certification, as appropriate.  The City of Cartersville requests that all federal and state permitted industries provide a copy of this information to the City of Cartersville Public Works Department.  

We all must work together to protect and preserve Cartersville’s water resources for future generations.  For more information or to report illegal dumping, a suspicious discharge and/or inadequate erosion and sediment control, please contact Thomas W. Sanders Jr., PE, PTOE, City Engineer at (770) 606-6993 or tsanders@cityofcartersville.org.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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