Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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1.  What is Stormwater Pollution Prevention?
2.  Doesn't Stormwater Run-off Go Into the Sanitary Sewer?
3.  What can I do to help improve stormwater quality?

For additional information about the Stormwater Utility Program or Stormwater Quality, please email our Customer Service Department or contact our office at (706) 855-RAIN (7246).




What is Stormwater Pollution Prevention?

Stormwater runoff is water that flows over our yards, streets, buildings, parking lots, and other surfaces when it rains.  It flows into gutters, drainage ditches, storm sewers, and other drains that empty into our streams, ponds, and lakes, which eventually enters the Savannah River. 

Water pollution is less visible than flooding, erosion, and sedimentation, but it is no less important. A variety of pollutants, such as fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, motor oil, gasoline, and other industrial chemicals, accumulate on roofs, streets, parking lots, lawns, and other surfaces in urbanized areas and are picked up by stormwater run-off. Sometimes, people even dump paint, antifreeze, or crankcase oil from gasoline and diesel engines into storm drains. Failing septic tank drain fields allow wastewater containing pathogens and coliform bacteria to discharge onto the ground and into ditches, where it may be swept into streams during and following rainstorms. Even something as common as animal droppings can cause harmful water pollution if they are picked up in stormwater runoff.  These pollutants are eventually carried into our local stream, creeks, and lakes.

The best way to stop pollutants from entering our valuable water resources is to prevent them from entering the system.  Visit our Pollution Prevention page for more information on how you can prevent pollutants from entering our storm sewer system.


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Doesn't Stormwater Run-off Go Into the Sanitary Sewer?

No. Only wastewater is collected and transported to the treatment plant by the sanitary sewer system. Stormwater flows through the storm sewer systems, ditches, and channels. It empties, untreated, into our streams, ponds, and lakes. It would be much too expensive to size the sanitary sewers and treatment plant to convey and treat stormwater in the same manner as sanitary sewage. The volume of wastewater generated by our homes and businesses each day is insignificant compared to the volume of stormwater runoff generated during a rainstorm. The better solution is to prevent the entry of pollutants into the stormwater system in the first place.


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What can I do to help improve stormwater quality?

There are many things that we can all do on a daily basis to reduce water pollution and otherwise improve stormwater quality.  We have a series of pamphlets on various topics that we can mail to you.  Some of the most important things people can do are very simple, like wise lawn fertilizing and pest treatment practices.  Please visit our Pollution Prevention page for more information on how YOU can be a part of the pollution prevention solution.


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