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Stormwater Management Program


Management of stormwater runoff has become an ever increasing responsibility of local governments throughout Georgia. A return to historic rainfall levels, combined with aging drainage infrastructure has created an urgent need for the City to implement a more comprehensive stormwater management program to address significant drainage problems. Over time, stormwater structures such as pipes and catch basins have become clogged, reducing their efficiency. When it rains in Americus, pipes frequently overflow into streets and inundate existing drainage system components. In some areas, the problem is severe enough that yards and structures are flooded with stormwater runoff. To solve these problems the City of Americus needs to implement a comprehensive stormwater management program.

What is Stormwater Runoff?

Stormwater runoff is the water that flows over rooftops, sidewalks, parking lots, streets, driveways, yards, patios and other surfaces when it rains. The water then flows into gutters, storm sewers and drainage ditches that empty into our local creeks and streams.
Impervious areas (the areas that cannot absorb rainfall – rooftops, driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, etc.) are the single most important factor influencing stormwater runoff. Development replaces natural ground surfaces with impervious surfaces, causing more stormwater to run off the land rather than soaking into the soil, resulting in increased stream flows and velocities. Impervious areas and intensive land uses can also promote a build up of pollution that is eventually carried into our streams via stormwater runoff.

State and Federal Regulations

The City’s Wastewater Treatment operations are permitted by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. New and expanded regulations have recently been established by the state and federal government been added to this program to address stormwater runoff and water quality issues within the wastewater service area of the City. The City of Americus must comply with their wastewater permit and associated Watershed Protection Plan, which mandates certain activities be implemented to reduce the discharge of stormwater pollution to local streams, creeks and lakes. These activities include water quality monitoring and
maintenance of the stormwater drainage system.

Has the City Formulated a Plan to Address Stormwater issues?

Yes, a comprehensive stormwater program strategy has been prepared to address stormwater drainage infrastructure issues based on the concept of addressing the highest priority needs first. The City’s plan addresses stormwater issues through engineering
studies, drainage improvement projects, remedial repairs and increased system maintenance. The total cost of these infrastructures improvements and remediation is approximately $4.5 million.

The City has developed a mission  statement for the Stormwater Program which states:“The proper management of stormwater runoff and the community’s water resources is vital to its citizen’s quality of life. Cost effective implementation of a comprehensive water resources management program that includes water supply, wastewater treatment and stormwater management services will ensure the City’s future economic vitality and sustainability. To that end, the City is committed to delivering a level of service to its customers that will address the critical water resources needs of the community.”

Paying for Stormwater Services

The City estimates that the annual expenditure for the stormwater management program must be increased to approximately $850,000 per year to build new drainage pipes, improve maintenance of existing drainage systems, and provide an enhanced level of service focused on minimizing flooding and reducing water pollution. However, the City will need to secure additional money to implement the future stormwater program.

The City has established that implementation of a Stormwater Utility is the most fair and equitable way to fund the future stormwater management program needs. A Stormwater Utility is an entity whose purpose is to provide to stormwater services to the customers.

Each user (customer) is charged a fee for the service provided. A tormwater User Fee is a charge for stormwater services provided by the City to all developed residential and non-residential properties in the City. The user fee revenue collected can only be utilized for stormwater management and drainage services. The user fee charge is based on the amount of impervious surface and stormwater runoff amount from a parcel.

What Benefits Will I See?

The future stormwater program funded through the stormwater user fee will increase activities regarding the maintenance of pipe systems in problematic areas of the City to ensure the pipes flow correctly and operate properly. Future capital projects are planned to address over 50 currently identified drainage problems including Lester Avenue, Sun Valley Rd., and various other locations. Future projects in other areas of the City will be added as they are identified and prioritized. The planned construction efforts combined with enhanced drainage system maintenance will result in:

- Improved drainage system operation

- Reduced flooding

- Cleaner water in our streams and creeks and the Flint River

- Enhanced planning, inspection and enforcement efforts related to City drainage projects and issues

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