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:
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.
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.