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Home >> Departments/Offices >> Stormwater Utility >> Watershed Management & Volunteer Opportunities

Watershed Management & Volunteer Opportunities

Every time it rains, the community's water resources are threatened by stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is the portion of rainwater that is unable to soak into the ground. Stormwater can pick up debris, litter, trash, dirt, leaves, grass clippings, sediment, pesticides, fertilizers, oil, grease, chemicals, pet waste, and other contaminants as it runs off of developed land. This polluted runoff is considered "non-point source pollution" because the pollution comes from many different sources as opposed to "point source pollution" that would result from a spill at a factory or sewage treatment plant. Stormwater runoff eventually flows into storm sewer systems and releases into nearby lakes, rivers, creeks, streams or wetlands. Anything that enters a storm sewer system or drainage ditch, is released untreated into bodies of water used for swimming, fishing and drinking.

Every year people pour hazardous chemicals, pesticides, paints, antifreeze and used motor oil down storm drains. Most of them do not realize that those storm drains dump those pollutants directly into our streams and ground water, and not the sanitary sewer treatment system.

The dumping of hazardous wastes and any other pollutant into storm drains is degrading our water quality and can affect fish, wildlife, the environment and humans. Illegal dumping affects everyone. For example, only one pint of motor oil can cause a slick the size of two football fields on calm water.

Pollution prevention, public participation, and education are the only solutions to non-point source pollution and to minimizing polluted stormwater runoff. Cleanup and enforcement cannot cover every street, driveway and parking lot. The biggest challenges to preventing non-point source pollution are providing pollution prevention information and taking action.

According to a recent Roper survey, many people still believe that industry is the greatest source of water pollution. But industry is the not the only entity polluting the environment; pollution comes from all sources. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over 60% of our water pollution comes from urban and agricultural stormwater runoff, which is non-point source pollution.

There are volunteer opportunities for interested individuals, youth groups, businesses, students, community groups, or anyone that wants to help prevent stormwater pollution. Some examples of these opportunities are participation in the County's storm drain stenciling program or in a Keep Conyers-Rockdale Beautiful (KCRB) community cleanup event.

For more information on being a part of stormwater pollution prevention or for more information about a stormwater volunteer event, contact the Stormwater Utility at Stormwater.Events@rockdalecounty.org or at 770-278-7142.