In urban areas clearing and building are among the leading causes of stormwater pollution. Clearing removes protective vegetation making soil vulnerable to erosion. As buildings go up, stormwater flowing over exposed soil carries sediment into storm drains, streams and lakes. Pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals can become pollutants when carried off by stormwater. Vegetated areas cause little stormwater runoff. When those areas are replaced by impervious surfaces (buildings, roads, parking lots) stormwater runoff is increased, and can cause streams to flood more in the winter and to dry out more in the summer. Untreated stormwater flowing over paved and other impervious surfaces, carries toxic metals, organic compounds, pathogens and other pollutants that end up in rivers, streams, lakes, and can harm people and fish. Untreated stormwater discharging to the ground may contaminate aquifers that are used for drinking water.
Stormwater is water from precipitation that flows across the ground and pavement due to rain or snowmelt (or also called stormwater runoff). The water may seep into the ground, flow in ditches or streams, or enter the storm drain system. The storm drains are what you see at street corners or at low points on the sides of your streets. The storm drains then lead to a discharge point such an open canal or directly into one of the natural streams and creeks within Dougherty County.
Storm drains are a completely different system than the sanitary sewers. Sanitary sewers convey wastewater from houses, businesses and industries to one of the city wastewater treatment plants. Storm drains runoff is not treated prior to it's entering our natural creeks and streams.
Stormwater runoff is a major problem when it picks up garbage, debris, sediment, chemicals, automotive fluids, fertilizers, leaves and other pollutants from parking lots, yards, streets, shopping malls, house roofs, etc. This type of pollution is called nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. The result of unclean stormwater runoff discharges is the loss of fish and aquatic wildlife from our creeks, streams and rivers, and signs that say no fishing or no swimming.
The best way to protect stormwater runoff quality is to avoid polluting in the first place.
There are many opportunities to become involved with stormwater cleanup efforts. These programs are coordinated by Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful.
If you see illegal dumping into storm drains or into creeks, call immediately! 229-439-3928