Stormwater can wreak havoc when it is allowed to flow in an uncontrolled manner.  Flooded streets, parking lots, businesses and homes; eroded hillsides, ditches and embankments; and polluted, littered and unsafe waterways are what happens when stormwater is NOT managed.

Stormwater management addresses a board range of issues:

  • How stormwater is collected, treated and released into our waterways
  • How stormwater collection and treatment systems are designed and evaluated

In the past, tax dollars were set aside to address stormwater collection and treatment.  Because these funds were not strictly dedicated to stormwater infrastructure construction or maintenance and because no formal stormwater management program was in place, that money was spent on other issues that may have been considered more pressing at the time.  A large percentage of the stormwater issues we currently have in the City of Dalton are a result of stormwater collection and treatment systems that do not have adequate capacity or that have not been properly maintained and are not operating as designed.

Communities that are handling stormwater successfully have established stormwater utilities.

A stormwater utility is a distinct entity, funded by a stormwater “fee” paid by customers based on their contribution of stormwater to the system.  The sole purpose of the utility is to manage current and future stormwater needs.  needs.  Just like an electric or water utility, a stormwater utility provides a “service”  –  such as infrastructure improvements, maintenance, and treatment of stormwater.  Managing stormwater properly has many benefits to the community:

  • Prevent flooding
  • Reduce erosion of streambanks, embankments, ditches and hillsides
  • Decrease water pollution
  • Protect water supplies
  • Comply with State and Federal water quality requirements
  • Protect personal and public property from damage
  • AND Beautify the Community!  Stormwater retention ponds become landscape features and even public park areas. But exactly HOW does all of this take place?  We’ll explain in our next article, Stormwater 101: What Does a Stormwater Utility Do?

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