Every time it rains, stormwater runoff (rainfall that does not soak into the ground) picks up debris such as litter, pesticides, chemicals, motor oil and dirt as it flows across rooftops, lawns, streets and parking lots. These pollutants can then be deposited -- untreated -- into Milton's waterways.
Increased runoff from developed areas can also cause flooding and erosion of stream banks, which results in even more pollutants entering our streams.
Stormwater pollution can make monitoring and treating our drinking water more difficult and costly. In addition, it can harm our aquatic environment and ruin our ponds and streams' beauty. And it water sources get polluted, rivers, lakes and streams may be closed to the public. That's why the City of Milton's Stormwater Management Program is so critical. Read more about the program here.
Milton's Public Works staff provides the following stormwater services:
- Manages the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program
- Evaluates stormwater issues
- Manages stormwater projects
- Provides stormwater public information
Stormwater runoff from all areas located within the City of Milton, including commercial and residential properties, has the potential to affect the quantity and quality of water on adjacent properties and waterways.
Part of the planning and design requirements for each development are provisions for collection and treatment of runoff from rainfall. Typically, a development will include one or more stormwater management ponds designed to serve the entirety of the development. For commercial sites, subdivisions, and multi-family residential rental properties, the responsibility for maintenance of these facilities lies with the current owner or joint owners of the property. For single and multi-family residential properties, the ownership and responsibility lies with the property owners served by the facility, which includes all properties which were part of the original development.
To reiterate: HOAs and owners of commercial properties are responsible for ponds on their properties.
This group of property owners is usually represented by a neighborhood group or homeowners association. In addition to general maintenance responsibilities, the city requires owners of all newer projects (built within the past twelve years) submit an annual inspection report to the Public Works Department describing the condition of their stormwater facilities, proposed maintenance, and any final maintenance work completed on the facility.
You: You are responsible for preventing an increase or decrease in storm water runoff to adjacent property owners or to the public right-of-way.
The National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program was established to regulate the discharge of stormwater from each community and improve the quality of stormwater runoff.
Originally issued in January 2008, the permit requires the city to meet certain water quality standards to comply with the mandates of the Federal Clean Water Act and the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District.
To meet these standards, the city must perform certain Best Management Practices (BMP) approved by the state. Specifically, BMPs are required in 6 key areas:
- Public education and outreach
- Public involvement
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination
- Construction site runoff control
- Post construction runoff control
- Pollution prevention/good housekeeping
Although the primary purpose of the permit is water quality, BMPs actually serve to benefit the city in a number of other, less obvious, ways.
Uncontrolled or polluted stormwater runoff can result in: flooding; increased stream bank erosion; destruction of aquatic life; premature filling of our streams, rivers and reservoirs with sediment; and increases in the cost of treating potable water supplies. Additionally, it is important to remember that our stormwater becomes another community’s river, lake or drinking water supply.
Public Works staff is charged with managing the overall permit program to ensure that the six key components are accomplished every year. Read the City's Stormwater Management Plan here.
In support of those efforts, the city currently has several active groups whose members volunteer their time and effort to help keep our surface waters clean. These groups include Milton Grows Green, the Boy and Girl Scouts, as well as numerous school clubs and organizations.
In addition to the efforts of these groups, the City’s Community Development staff performs regular construction plan reviews and site inspections to help ensure proper planning and construction of the stormwater system. Continued efforts by city staff and volunteer groups will help further educate our citizens about stormwater and the benefits of keeping surface waters clean and our stormwater system operating properly.
One very important, but often overlooked, benefit is the fact that the program itself creates a proactive approach to managing stormwater infrastructure. As part of the program, the city is currently conducting a complete inventory and condition assessment of the stormwater system and its components. Through knowledge of the system, combined with regular inspections, city staff can insure proper operation, as well as a plan for system repairs and capital improvements.
This approach is one of the key advantages a new city like Milton has over other older cities that are only now conducting inventories of their stormwater system. Oftentimes these cities were developed with inadequate design and construction standards, resulting in an infrastructure that is not only malfunctioning, but in many cases failing -- causing serious property damage and expensive emergency repairs.
The NPDES permit program is designed to increase public awareness and involvement, expand our sense of civic responsibility and improve the operational efficiency of our city’s infrastructure. Managing our stormwater system through the NPDES permit program provides numerous benefits to our local and regional environment and improves the fiscal management of our city.