When It Rains It Drains
Management of stormwater runoff has become an increasingly important responsibility for local governments like Senoia. The City acknowledges the need to be a good steward of its waterways. However, existing State and Federal Stormwater Regulations, necessary infrastructure maintenance, and capital improvement projects have driven the need to implement a more comprehensive stormwater management program. The Senoia stormwater management program is responsible for the management and regulation of stormwater and certain drainage issues within the City.
Stormwater runoff is water that drains off rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, roads, compacted soil, gravel, and other surfaces that prohibit the infiltration of rainfall into the ground. The stormwater runoff then flows into the City drainage system and, eventually, into our local streams and creeks. All developed properties in a community contribute stormwater runoff to the drainage system and, in some cases, to recurring drainage problems. In addition to flooding problems, stormwater runoff washes chemicals, debris, trash and other pollutants into the drainage system and our local surface waters.
Our stormwater management program must undertake various activities including fulfilling the requirements of the City's stormwater permit; the cleaning of ditches and other stormwater conveyance systems; replacement of aging culverts and drainage structures; and construction of new culvert systems to increase or improve conveyance capacity. To fund these programs, Senoia will use varying funding methods including a General Fund allocation and establishing a stormwater utility.
The stormwater user fee charge is based on impervious surface (i.e. rooftops, driveways, parking lots) because impervious surface has a direct correlation to the amount of stormwater runoff individual properties discharge to the City’s drainage system. Customers that reduce their impact on the City drainage system though approved credit practices such as detention ponds will be eligible for a reduction on their monthly storm water user fee charge. One of the primary benefits of utilizing a fee-based system to fund the City’s stormwater management program is that it ensures that all developed properties pay their fair share of the costs to manage their stormwater run-off impacts and for the cost of the storm water services provided by the City to that parcel and/or customer.
The City of Senoia chose a stormwater user fee charge as the most equitable method available to fund implementation of the City’s stormwater management program as required by the National Pollutant Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit. The City was recently designated as a NPDES Phase II community by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and is now required to comply with the requirements of this Permit. This has created an unfunded regulatory mandate for the City to manage stormwater runoff quality and quantity. Key aspects of the NPDES Phase II regulations require permit holders to inspect their storm water infrastructure, note any deficiencies, eliminate any illicit discharges and perform necessary maintenance and repairs.