What is Stormwater Runoff?
Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground.
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Why is Stormwater Runoff a Problem?
Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water.
The Effects of Pollution
Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people.
- Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment also can destroy aquatic habitats.
- Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can’t exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.
- Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary.
- Debris—plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts—washed into waterbodies can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.
- Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can become sick or die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
Stormwater Pollution Solutions
10 Simple Things You Can Do to Be Part of the “Solution to Stormwater Pollution”
- Never dump anything onto the street, down a storm drain, or into a drainage ditch.
- Pick up after your pet. Bag it and through it into the trash.
- Compost or bag your yard clippings for curbside collection.
- Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly. (Read the label)
- Put litter in its place.
- Keep your septic system maintained to prevent leaks.
- Check your vehicles for leaks and repair them as soon as possible.
- Always recycle your motor oil and other vehicle fluids.
- Wash your vehicle over a grassy area or at a commercial car wash that recycles water, not on your driveway.
- Tell a friend or neighbor about how they can help prevent stormwater pollution.
Pollution Prevention and Control Measures
Volume 3 of the Georgia Stormwater Management Manual provides detailed information and tips on pollution prevention and control measures for residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, and municipal users/operations.
This manual can be accessed at the following Link: GSMM-Vol3-Pollution Prevention Guidebook
Water Quality Consortium Posters on common practices that can pollute our waters:
What’s the problem with pet waste?
It’s a health risk to pets and people, especially children. It’s a nuisance in our neighborhoods. Pet waste is full of bacteria that can make people sick. If it’s washed into the storm drain and ends up in a lake, stream, or marine water, the bacteria end up in shellfish. People who eat those shellfish can get very sick. Unless people take care of pets’ waste, the waste enters our water with no treatment. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your water source.
- Walk your pets in grassy areas, parks, or undeveloped areas; pet waste on pavements will be carried by storm water into streams.
- Pick up your pets’ waste when possible, and dispose them in your garbage or toilet. Pet waste contains nutrients and pathogens that can contaminate surface water.
- Bury small quantities in your yard where it can decompose slowly. Dig a hole one-foot deep. Put three to four inches of waste at the bottom of the hole. Cover the waste with at least eight inches of soil. Bury the waste in several different locations in your yard and keep it away from vegetable gardens.
Other Recycling Resources (Including Information on Hard to Recycle Materials):
The Chatham County Resource Conservation Education Center (CCRCEC) maintains information on its website to help citizens of the County, including Town of Thunderbolt residents, to dispose of hazardous and nonhazardous household waste properly. The website includes a listing of facilities and businesses that will accept waste oil, hard to recycle materials, toxic wastes, and recyclables from the public.
Thunderbolt’s Stormwater Management Plan
Thunderbolt’s updated Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) is currently under review by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division. The version under review is available at: Thunderbolt’s SWMP
One of the Best Management Practices (BMPs) listed in Thunderbolt’s Stormwater Management Plan is to post this Plan and future Annual Reports on the Town’s Stormwater website. Residents are invited to provide input on these documents. If you would like to submit a comment to the Town on the BMPs included within the SWMP or the activities summarized in the Annual Report, you may submit them electronically using the Contact Us form
How to Report a Stormwater Pollution Violation
If you observe someone illegally dumping into a storm drain or ditch, please call (912) 354-5533, or you may report your concern electronically using the Contact Us form.