The Lowndes County Stormwater Division is making an effort to educate citizens regarding Stormwater and Illicit Discharge and how it affects our environment. As a local government that strives to protect the environment, Lowndes County must conduct a monitoring program that identifies stormwater pollutants and the effectiveness of commonly used best management practices (BMPs), in addition to, studying program challenges with the goal of finding more effective, affordable management practices. Please feel free to contact the Engineering Department with any questions / concerns or to report Illicit Discharge, at 229-671-2424.
Lowndes County's Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) describes the actions the county undertakes to comply with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division in 2005.
The NPDES is the national permitting program designed to monitor the discharge of pollutants from specific sources into surface waters, and to minimize the discharge of pollutants.
The 1972 Amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) prohibit the discharge of any pollutant to waters of the United States from a point source unless the discharge is authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The Federal Clean Water Act requires large and medium sized towns across the United States to take steps to reduce polluted stormwater runoff.
The law was applied in 2 phases. The first phase, "Phase I" addressed large cities. The second phase, often referred to as "Phase II," requires medium and small cities, fast growing cities and those located near sensitive waters to take steps to reduce stormwater. In Lowndes County, Phase II laws went into effect in 2005.
An illicit discharge is the discharge of pollutants or non-stormwater materials to the stormwater system. In May 2006, Lowndes County adopted an ordinance to establish an Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program including a provision for assessing civil penalties on violators.
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.
Stormwater discharges are generated by runoff from land and impervious areas such as paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops during rainfall and snow events that often contain pollutants in quantities that could adversely affect water quality. Most stormwater discharges are considered point sources and require coverage by an National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
A common misconception about stormwater is that water runs off streets and parking lots and into a storm drain that goes directly to a waste water treatment plant. It doesn't. In fact, stormwater usually receives no treatment. This untreated rain water is discharged into water bodies (creeks, rivers, lakes, etc.) we use for swimming, fishing, and drinking water.