What is Storm Water Pollution?
Storm water pollution occurs when the runoff from rain washes pollutants into the water. Pollutants include debris and chemicals such as litter, motor oil, fertilizer, pesticides, and dirt. These are washed from roads, rooftops, lawns, and parking lots into storm water drains, which drain directly into local waters without treatment. This untreated water directly impacts aquatic life and the animals that rely on them for food, as well as our own drinking water, and visible litter detracts from the natural beauty of our rivers, lakes, and streams.
In addition to the hazards of pollution, asphalt and concrete are impermeable surfaces. Unlike grass and earth, which lets some rainwater soak into the ground, impermeable surfaces allow water to wash straight over them. Without infiltration into the ground, storm water runs off in higher volumes, which contributes to flooding and erosion problems.
Reducing Pollution at Home
There are many options for reducing pollution at home:
- Do not dump or empty waste into storm drains or streams – this includes bleach, paint, oil, leaves, etc.
- Pick up after your pets.
- Minimize use of fertilizers, and do not apply them when rain is forecasted.
- Minimize use of pesticides, and use less-toxic pesticides.
- Maintain your car.
- Recycle your motor oil. Stores that sell motor oil often offer a recycling program.
- Wash your car at a car wash, or on non-permeable surfaces such as your lawn.
- Recycle batteries; do not put them directly in the garbage. The Effingham County Dry Waste & Recycling Center accepts batteries for recycling, free of charge.
- Keep your septic system well-maintained with regular pumping and inspection.
- Ensure that your downspouts do not drain onto paved surfaces.
- Compost your yard waste.
- Make use of water-efficient landscaping. This also has the potential to reduce your water bill!
- Sweep debris from your driveway and walkways, rather than hosing it off.
- Wipe off paint brushes before cleaning, and clean in a sink. Dispose of paint through an appropriate hazardous waste collection program, or donate.
For more information, please see the EPA brochures linked on the left.
Rivers Alive conducts a river cleanup in Effingham County each fall.
Community cleanups help keep litter and debris out of our waters. If you wish to organize one for your neighborhood or community, please contact Brian Adlerstein at the number on the left.
Illicit discharge is defined by the EPA as “any discharge to the municipal separate storm sewer system that is not composed entirely of storm water, except for discharges allowed under a NPDES permit or waters used for firefighting operations.” Should you see evidence of illicit discharge into the storm water system, such as flow to or from the storm drains during dry weather, please use the provided form on the left and submit it by mail or in person to 601 N. Laurel Street, Springfield, GA 31329 or by email to Brian Adlerstein.
For complaints and concerns, please contact the county engineer at 912-754-8063.