Georgia EPD Eases Watering Limits, Reminds Citizens Year-round Conservation Needed
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is easing outdoor water use restrictions in 55 counties including metropolitan Atlanta, but reminds Georgians that state law requires some statewide outdoor watering limits year-round.
“Substantial rainfall over the past few months has led to significant improvement in streamflows and reservoir levels” said EPD Director Richard Dunn.The state’s most recent Level 2 Drought Response has focused on Lake Lanier and its tributaries because they serve as water supply to much of metro Atlanta. Lake Lanier is a federal reservoir and as such, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages its water levels.
“Due to effective river basin management and above average rainfall, Lake Lanier water levels are up five feet since the start of the year,” said EPD Director Dunn. “It is typically dry in the fall, but we expect the lake to continue to refill during the winter. As drought recovery continues, we urge citizens to be good stewards of our water resources.”
Those counties moving from a Level 2 Drought Response to a Level 1 Drought Response are Cobb, Coweta, Dekalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, Paulding, and White counties. EPD had already lifted Level 2 restrictions in the remainder of the state.
A Level 1 Drought Response requires permitted public water systems to conduct a public information
campaign to explain drought conditions and the need to conserve water. This decision cancels the Level 2
Drought Response watering schedule that limited landscape watering to two days per week based on odd-even address numbers. It also prohibited other types of water use including non-commercial vehicle washing and pressure washing.
In addition, a Level 1 Drought Response has been lifted in the following Georgia counties: Athens-Clarke, Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clayton, Dawson, Elbert, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Gordon, Greene, Haralson, Harris, Hart, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Jasper, Lamar, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Pickens, Pike, Putnam, Rockdale, Spalding, Stephens, Talbot, Taliaferro, Troup, Upson, Walton and Wilkes counties.
Georgians must still follow the non-drought outdoor water use schedule required in the Water Stewardship Act of 2010. This law allows all types of outdoor water use, but landscape watering only before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. daily. This is done to limit evaporation during the warmest part of the day. For more information about water conservation and drought is available at https://epd.georgia.gov/water-conservation.
Find more conservation tips at: http://mydropcounts.org/
What is Stormwater?
What happens to all that rain that falls? Much of it soaks back into the ground replenishing our streams and waterways, and feeding our plants and natural ground cover. But what about the rest…the stuff that doesn’t soak back into the ground???
Duluth gets about 53 inches of rain every year. That’s 45% higher than the national average rainfall of 36.5 inches. And while much of that rain falls upon our beautiful parks and grassy lawns, the rest of it falls upon our rooftops, our driveways, and our parking lots and roads, causing what we call storm water runoff. Storm water runoff flows over our impervious surfaces, accumulating debris, sediment, and other potentially harmful pollutants before finding its way to our lakes, streams, and ponds. Yuck.
What does all this mean? Well, it means we need to control and regulate how the water moves along the impervious surfaces, and how we treat it prior to letting it co-mingle with our “clean” water. And it just so happens that the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has requirements in place to help us do just that. The US EPA has instituted a stormwater permitting process and has allowed qualified individual States to oversee their own programs. The State of Georgia has official oversight for our stormwater permit, but individual Counties and Cities, such as Gwinnett and Duluth, are considered Local Issuing Authorities. That means we have the expertise and ability to oversee our stormwater programs, making sure they are compliant with EPA’s regulations for the National Stormwater Permit.
Again, what does all this mean? In order to remain compliant with our stormwater permit, Duluth must meet several criteria. We need to train and maintain certified staff to review, approve, inspect, and enforce all aspects of our storm water program (from plan review to inspection and maintenance of our facilities, as well as enforcement for new development as Duluth grows and thrives.)
What’s included in Duluth’s storm water program? And how can YOU help? Good questions!
Our staff works hard every day to protect the waters and watersheds in and around Duluth. We approve stormwater plans for new developments only when they meet or exceed our requirements for detention (to avoid flooding), and water quality (to remove the pollutants). We inspect all of our storm water assets (ponds, pipes, ditches, and related structures) on a regular basis to make sure they are in safe and working condition. We respond to questions and calls relating to storm water facilities in disrepair. And we maintain, repair and upgrade our facilities on an ongoing basis. As a citizen, business person, or general user of our facilities, you are encouraged to report any problems you see or experience with storm water related assets. Our main storm water number is 770-497-5311. We appreciate your efforts to help keep Duluth a great place to live, work, and play!
Need more information?
To learn more about NPDES (Stormwater) permits: http://gaswcc.georgia.gov/npdes-permits
To learn more about Local Issuing Authorities: http://gaswcc.georgia.gov/local-issuing
To learn more about US EPD’s NPDES Program: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/index.cfm
Can't get enough? If you still have questions, or want to know more, you are welcome to call us. We are here to serve you.