Protecting our Waterways
Protecting our Waterways
It’s important for residents to do their part to maintain the delicate balance of our local ecosystem. Local watersheds are interconnected systems where one stream flows into another. Pollution discharged to waterways upstream could affect water quality downstream.
There are several ways you can help keep our county waterways clean, and potentially get a credit on your stormwater utility bill at the same time.
What Can You Do at Home?
Preventing stormwater pollution through responsible disposal of household wastes will go a long way towards maintaining the health of our waterways. Some specific things you can do at home include:
- Maintain your septic tank
- Install a rain garden or rain barrel
- Eliminate illicit discharges from your property
- Direct sprinklers so that only the landscaping is watered, not the road
Additional methods of stormwater management you may notice around the county include stream restoration and adoption of best management practices (BMPs) including detention ponds and green infrastructure.
For a guide to non-point source pollution and how to protect our waterways, see our Clean Water Begins With You brochure.
Preventing Illicit Discharge Violations
You may not even be aware that some of the regular things that you do around the house result in illicit discharge violations. With some simple adjustments, you can avoid causing unintentional damage to the environment and the County stormwater system.
Grass clippings/Yard waste
Grass clippings, leaves, and branches can obstruct storm drains and pipes, leading to maintenance issues and damage in the stormwater system that must be repaired. Yard waste should be contained on your property (for example, spread clippings on your lawn) or placed into approved disposal bags.
Proper maintenance of your septic system is essential, and part of your responsibility as a County property owner. Be sure to have your septic system inspected and cleaned as recommended to ensure any discharges from your property are within environmentally-regulated limits. Learn more about septic systems.
Car wash water
Car owners are often surprised to learn that the soapy water left behind after a car wash is in fact a pollutant. The detergent enters streams alongside nutrients, metals, and hydrocarbons that have negative effects on water quality. We recommend washing your car at a professional car wash that is required to recycle and/or treat its water, or if at home, wash the car on a surface water can permeate, like gravel or grass. Direct your car wash runoff to where it can soak into the ground, and away from storm drains.
All of the rain water that falls across the county eventually ends up in the same few water sources. One of the largest and most detrimental sources of water contamination in Georgia streams is pet waste. Please pick up after your pet and dispose of it in the garbage.
Visit Illicit Discharges to learn more about inspections, enforcement, and water quality protection.