Stormwater in Our Region
Polluted stormwater runoff is the leading cause of water quality degradation and impaired waters in the Metro Water District.Despite marked improvement in stormwater management, more than 1,500 miles of stream within the region do not meet state water quality standards, primarily due to non-point pollution.
A waterbody is listed as impaired when it fails to meet general federal water quality standards, or the specific standards for its designated use determined by the state. As outlined in the Clean Water Act, Georgia’s 305(b)/303(d) list of impaired waters helps the state and federal agencies keep track of what waters are impaired and by what pollutant. The U.S. EPA requires that total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) be determined for waterbodies where water quality standards have not been met. TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still safely meet water quality standards.
The Metro Water District addresses stormwater pollution and impaired waters through the watershed management strategies as well as the public awareness and education efforts of the Clean Water Campaign. The District also facilitates a comprehensive water quality monitoring effort to evaluate progress in meeting water quality goals.
Access to clean water is important for our safety and vitality.The Metro Water District evaluates a wide spectrum of management strategies to develop a comprehensive regional program that protects our water quality and promotes watershed health. The Watershed Management Section includes five model ordinances required of all local jurisdictions as well as regional and state policy recommendations. Additional measures to be implemented by cities and counties within the Metro Water District cover:
- watershed planning and conditions assessment
- land development
- stormwater asset management
- pollution prevention
- public awareness
Metro Water District partners have worked aggressively over the past five years implementing these management measures. All local governments within the 15 counties have passed a version of their required ordinances at the local level. Further, during 2014, more than 50 percent of local governments within the Metro Water District engaged in activities directly related to improving watershed health such as carrying out stormwater projects, applying for grants or prioritizing watersheds to receive projects.