Additional staff request for SWMP tabled to explore other optionsFeatured Stories April 12, 2022
Originally presented at an earlier work session, the additional staff request for the Public Works Department’s Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) will require further examination.
The Board of Commissioners voted to table the request until Public Works can evaluate other options, such as contracting work out to third parties.
While no timeframe has been given, the Public Works staff will have the opportunity to present the alternative of contracting the services to the Board at a later session.
SWMP’s requirements and responsibilities
Back in March 2014, Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division approved the SWMP in Dawson County. It also issued the General National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to the county.
The EPD issued the permit for Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) to the state’s waters.
The permit acts in accordance with the Federal Clean Water Act and the Georgia Water Control Act. It requires each MS4 permittee to submit a SWMP to the EPD.
With each permit lasting five years, Dawson County will need to submit its third permit application in March 2024.
The MS4’s stormwater program requires that all inspection and administrative staff become certified through the NPDES.
After recent certification classes, the county learned of the EPD’s increased focus in certain areas: funding, staffing and response time.
Denise Farr, the director of the Public Works Department, presented the additional staff request because of concerns that the program may not adequately cover these areas.
She also shared the EPD could increase the MS4 areas for counties without a county-wide MS4, which includes Dawson County.
SWMP’s minimum control measures
As a part of its SWMP, the county must address six minimum control measures.
Public education includes school presentations and activity books as well as social media and website updates. Similarly, public involvement focuses on programs that utilize the community, such as river cleanup.
The county must also detect and eliminate illicit discharge, which the Environmental Protection Agency defines as any discharge into a storm drain system not composed entirely of stormwater.
To further execute the program, staff members oversee construction site discharge controls and post-construction controls for new developments.
Responsibilities range from weekly inspections to continuing awareness programs with commercial management companies.
The minimum control measures conclude with good housekeeping and pollution prevention. The county provides a public reporting system for illicit discharge to aid these efforts.
Although the Board tabled the additional staff request, readers can view Farr’s presentation at https://mccmeetings.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/daga-pubu/MEET-Packet-580e84d8ea0a4c2a9806e8fb90677fcc.pdf.
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