Stormwater issues are a top priority for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many regulations have been created and revised to ensure that stormwater is properly managed, resulting in a safe, sustainable, and healthy environment.
The federal Clean Water Act mandates stormwater regulation through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which issues permits authorizing stormwater discharges.
In Georgia, the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) issues NPDES permits to local governments, and industrial and construction entities. The permits require the holders to use the best management practices (schedules of activities, prohibitions of practices, operating and maintenance procedures, treatment requirements, and other practices) that prevent or reduce the discharge of pollutants into Georgia waters.
Operators of construction sites disturbing one acre or more (including smaller sites that are part of a larger common plan of development) must obtain authorization from the state to discharge stormwater under an NPDES construction stormwater permit and must follow erosion and sediment control measures, as outlined in the construction permit they receive from the City.
Under the NPDES stormwater program, the City must request authorization from the state to discharge pollutants through its regulated MS4 municipal separate storm sewer system (roads, drainage systems, catch basins, curbs, and gutters designed for collecting and conveying stormwater).
To be authorized, the City must submit comprehensive permit applications to the state and develop a stormwater management program designed to prevent harmful pollutants from being washed by stormwater runoff into the MS4 (or from being dumped directly into the MS4), then discharged from the MS4 into local water bodies.
In addition, the City of Johns Creek must follow regulations from the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, which has developed regional and watershed specific plans for stormwater management, wastewater management and water supply and conservation in a 16-county area around metro-Atlanta. Local governments within the district are required to adopt the regulations and enforce them through a series of ordinances and design manuals.