Houston County is continuously growing. As growth continues, the need to route water that runs off the surrounding property needs to be routed in specific directions through pipes, ditches, etc. The water's free-flowing ability can be very powerful. The force produced by the flow of water will eventually "drag" other materials with it which will all eventually flow into the storm water systems. Dust, dirt, soot, trash, chemicals, etc. are some of the many other components that can and will be caught in the flow of water. These run-offs will end up dumping all those components somewhere in the environment and must be maintained in order to keep our surrounding waterways and environment clean.
As citizens of Houston County, it is your responsibility to help keep our storm water systems clean and operational. Please take care when you are in need of disposing certain materials. They may be harmful to the storm water system. If we all work together, this will not only benefit yourself but the surrounding communities by keeping our environment a safe place for everyone to enjoy.
Storm water discharges are generated by precipitation and runoff from land, pavements, building rooftops and other surfaces. Storm water runoff accumulates pollutants such as oil and grease, chemicals, nutrients, metals, and bacteria as it travels across land. Heavy precipitation can also cause sewer overflows which, in turn, may lead to contamination of water sources with untreated human and industrial waste, toxic materials, and other debris. EPA controls storm water and sewer overflow discharges through its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. NPDES provides guidance to municipalities and state and federal permitting authorities on how to meet storm water pollution control goals as flexibly and cost-effectively as possible.
Below are more specific examples:
- Soil Erosion from construction sites (i.e. roads, subdivisions, etc.) are carried to local streams and through the Ocmulgee River. This soil (aka Silt) has the possibility to muddy the water, harm fish and other wildlife, and plants. Periodically as the silt settles, it has the possibility to fill waterways which will increase the chance of flooding in those areas. To help prevent this as an issue, it is necessary to properly install silt fences, mats, straw bales, and vegetation to aid holding the soil intact.
- Runoffs from roads, parking lots, and driveways have the potential to carry fluids that will contaminate the water. Example fluids are oil, paint-thinners, and other chemicals from vehicles, etc.
- Trash has the possibility to wash into the storm drain system pollute the water as it flows. This could also cause clogs if the trash was to build up in the storm drain resulting backups and possible flooding. Do what is necessary to prevent from littering.
- Chemicals from lawns and other areas can also create problems for the storm system. Pesticides are harmful to fish and other wildlife. Fertilizers can create an over-production of algae that will remove oxygen from the water.
NEVER USE A STORM DRAIN TO DISPOSE OF ANY FLUIDS!
As a citizen of Houston County, we encourage your involvement in the Storm water Program. Below are some of the opportunities that you or your group can participate in. For more information, please contact the Houston County Public Works Department at (478) 987-4280.
- Marking Storm Drains – The Public Works Department is making an effort to stencil every storm drain outlet in the Houston County area with the slogan, “NO DUMPING – DRAINS TO STREAMS”. Volunteer organizations such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, school organizations, etc. can select an area that they would like to work with and Public Works will provide the stencil and paint, however, the project must be supervised by an adult(s) at all times.
- Rivers Alive – Since 2010, Houston County Public Works and the Altamaha Riverkeepers have participated in the Annual Rivers Alive Cleanup. We have cleaned over 6.5 miles of the Ocmulgee River, removed over 2000 pounds of garbage, and utilized an average of 28 volunteers donating 215 hours. The following companies have also been a contributor to the program: Frito-Lay, Coca-Cola and Perdue. If you or your organization would like to join us for the annual river cleanup, give us a call for dates and times.
- Christmas Tree Recycling - Each year following Christmas Day, Public Works locates a dumpster on the east side of the Houston County Purchasing Warehouse located on Kings Chapel Road. The dumpster remains in place until after the New Year. Please help to keep the Christmas trees out of ditches and ravines by depositing it into the container.
What Can YOU Do To Help?
- Do not pour anything down a storm drain that you would not drink or swim in.
- Keep your neighborhood free of litter and yard waste.
- Do not blow or rake leaves and grass clippings into your storm drains and ditches.
- Wash your car on the lawn and not in the driveway or street.
- Do not over-use fertilizers or pesticides. Fertilizers promote algae and weed growth and pesticides can be toxic to people and fish.
- Pick up pet wastes because fecal bacteria from animals can lower water quality.
- Fix your cars oil leaks and bring used oil to a recycling location.
The following links provide important information for our citizens as well as contractors:
- Storm water Local Design Manual For Houston County, GA
- Water Resources Protection Ordinance For Houston County, GA
- Plan Review Checklists and Guidance Documents
- These include Stand Alone, Infrastructure, and Common Development Checklists and Guidance Documents
Georgia Stormwater Links
- Georgia EPD
- Georgia Storm water Management Manual
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (GA)
- US Geological Survey Water Resources of Georgia
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Guidelines
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program
- Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission