Following are some of the tools used by the City to effectively and efficiently manage stormwater and provide for effective floodplain administration within the City of Austell's boundaries:
Planning and Capital Improvement
Stormwater system plans and targeted area studies identify stormwater project and program needs. Stormwater Capital Improvement Program projects fulfill some or all of the following:
- Protect property from flooding or other stream related damage;
- Protect or improve water quality;
- Maintain or improve the reliability, effectiveness, and/or integrity of the City of Austell’s public system, such as pipes and catch basins.
- Promote fiscal stewardship through cost savings or reduced liability;
- Promote resource stewardship by improving fish or wildlife habitat; and,
- Respond to regulatory requirements or legal obligations.
- To encourage and promote the appropriate use Green Infrastructure / Low Impact Development where feasible.
Operations and Maintenance
The City of Austell’s public stormwater system is operated and maintained to run effectively and efficiently. Activities include:
- System installation and repair;
- System structure location and capital project support;
- Preventative maintenance, including system, water quality, and flow control inspection and cleaning; and,
- City-wide emergency response, including flood and pollutant spill response and monitoring.
Development Regulations Administration
The City of Austell's development regulations ensure that development occurs in a way that protects stormwater quality and minimizes flooding. Regulations apply to both private and public development projects.
- Local ordinance review for compliance with federal, state, and local agencies.
- Construction plan reviews and inspections.
- Business compliance inspections.
- Stormwater Utility Fee.
Stormwater quality and quantity monitoring carried out by the City changes over time according to identified needs, project requirements, and regulatory requirements. For example, water quality monitoring is necessary to conduct illicit discharge detection and elimination investigations required by the City of Austell’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Stormwater Permit.
Public Education and Outreach
For many years, the City of Austell’s educational message for the general public has been “nothing but rain down the storm drain,” and the City has relied primarily on education and voluntary compliance. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Stormwater Permit now requires that the City use an approach that includes escalating enforcement, including fines for violations of the City code. The City recognizes that it will take some time and a great deal of effort to inform people and accomplish the societal changes necessary to reduce pollutants in the stormwater system.
Voluntary Compliance and Enforcement
Private systems are an integral part of the stormwater system. The City inspects private commercial stormwater systems every five years and requires cleaning and repair as appropriate. The inspections provide an opportunity to educate the private sector about stormwater management and the City of Austell’s mission. Lids are pulled on private stormwater drainage facilities annually, so inspections can take place and deficiencies can be noted and fixed. Without properly maintained and functioning private systems, the public system cannot provide the level of protection expected.
Stormwater’s Regulatory Environment
The following regulations directly affect how stormwater is managed within the City:
- Federal Clean Water Act: The United States Environmental Protection Agency has regulatory authority to enforce the Federal Clean Water Act, but has delegated the authority for municipal stormwater permits to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
- Federal Endangered Species Act: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Fisheries) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Agency are involved with enforcement and ensure that the City complies with the Federal Endangered Species Act.
- National Flood Insurance Program: The Federal Emergency Management Agency has regulatory authority to enforce the National Flood Insurance Program. The National Flood Insurance Program offers government subsidized flood insurance policies to residents and businesses located within the City of Austell. It is our responsibility to manage special flood hazard areas (also known as floodplains) by adopting specific regulatory standards. In many circumstances, we have adopted regulatory standards that exceed the National Flood Insurance Program minimum standards, in which case, flood insurance premiums are discounted further through the Community Rating System.
- Technical and planning assistance and information.
- Flood Insurance Rate Maps and mapping guidance.
- Flood Insurance Study guidance.
- The City of Austell’s stormwater management system collects and manages rainfall runoff to minimize flooding.
- The City of Austell and its citizens work together to help prevent flooding by keeping storm drains and other drainage areas clear of leaves, rocks, or other debris.
- Stormwater management includes an operations and maintenance program with routine inspections and repairs as necessary to prevent emergencies.
- The City of Austell provides emergency response services during storm events to minimize flooding and human safety impacts, such as closing unsafe roads and redirecting citizens on alternate routes.
- The City of Austell's regulations limit development in the Federal Emergency Management Agency mapped floodplains, which protects the public by minimizing flooding and human safety risks and also provides a discount on flood insurance premiums.