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We lead by example. Our progressive Stormwater Management program serves as a model in eliminating non-point source pollution. Our goals are to maintain stormwater infrastructure, control flooding and preserve water quality now and for future generations.
Non-point source pollution is a major contributor to pollution of surface water. Watershed protection is the best long-range solution to guarantee the quality of drinking water.
Most people are unaware that rainwater running off lawns, streets and parking lots ultimately flows back into our lakes and rivers. Grease, oils, and gasoline that wash off paved surfaces; bird droppings washed off rooftops; and sedimentation from erosion contribute to pollution which is often referred to as “non-point source" pollution because it is not from a single point but from the entire watershed. Impervious (roofs and paved) surfaces not only increase the amount of rainfall that becomes runoff but also the amount of pollutants that enter our streams.
The challenge remains how to balance the inevitable results of development in our watershed while maintaining the highest water quality standards.
The Water System is working to ensure that watershed protection is as basic as our traditional infrastructure program. The Cobb County Board of Commissioners' visionary direction has brought about beneficial changes in stream buffer ordinances. Minimum fifty-foot wide buffers are now required for all streams, increasing to as much as 200 feet depending on the contributing drainage area. This increase in buffers around the streams and rivers throughout the County means that deep-rooted trees and shrubs can “naturally” hold a bank in place to reduce runoff volume and filter pollutants.
Basin studies conducted by the Water System have shown that regional detention planning greatly contributes to watershed protection. Large-scale detention ponds or “holding” ponds serve the watershed by collecting runoff. Flows are stored and “bled” out over time thereby reducing downstream flooding. The Stormwater Management Division has constructed three regional facilities within the county. The Echo Mill Regional Detention facility in West Cobb serves 1,000 acres of watershed development and the Chestnut Hill Regional Detention Facility serves 640 acres in North Cobb. The area surrounding County Services Parkway is also served by a regional detention facility.
The county has begun an aggressive program to acquire floodplain land along major waterways. An acquisition of 265 acres of floodplain land in north/central Cobb gives Noonday Creek a very large buffer of 300-400 feet through much of its length. This not only preserves water quality and wildlife habitat but provides our citizens recreational opportunities in an area protected from future commercial development.