The city of Gainesville is working to efficiently address the problems arising from aging sewer pipes, and the costly road washouts that have been associated with this. New state and federal water quality regulations have prompted the need for a self-sustaining fee program to pay for storm water infrastructure upgrades. The initial fee proposed will charge $1 for every 1,000 square feet of impervious surface on residential, commercial, nonprofit and government property. There are more than 124 million square feet of impervious surfaces in Gainesville. Impervious surfaces include driveways, parking lots, and any surface that does not allow water to be absorbed into the ground. Department officials proposed the fee to provide a dedicated funding source to pay for improvements which are needed to prevent system clogging and slow storm water runoff and pollutants into sewer city drains and eventually into Lake Lanier and its tributaries.
In an effort to better inform citizens about the need to update storm water management infrastructure, the city has scheduled an open house in March. The intention is to provide homeowners with a public education program. Part of the goal is aimed at educating the local community on best practices and how litter, in all forms and even in small amounts, can build up to be a significant problem, with far-reaching detrimental public health and economic impacts. Educational tools are also being implemented, such as the use of a trash trap for Flat Creek. The creek flows into Lake Lanier and has created an unhealthy environment after heavy rain, due to trash build up. The installation of a sewer ‘trash trap’ is expected to address and prevent further health hazards.