On the left, an overgrown stormwater drainage pond. On the right, the same location after maintenance is complete. COURTESY OF DEKALB COUNTY

DeKalb County improving stormwater management with pond maintenance

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond recently announced the launch of a program to enhance maintenance of the county’s 950 stormwater drainage ponds. Over the next year, contractors will leverage $2 million to mow vegetation, repair fences, remove trees and restore ponds to maximum efficiency, according to a press release.

“The pond maintenance program is the first step in a $50 million effort to address critical issues in the stormwater system,” said CEO Thurmond. “The growth, economic development and health of the county and its citizens relies on 21st century infrastructure.”

“Stormwater drainage ponds collect diverted rain runoff from impervious surfaces, such as roof tops and parking lots,” said DeKalb County Public Works Director Rick Lemke. “Enhancing the pond maintenance schedule will increase the system’s efficiency to mitigate standing water, help control mosquitoes and prevent erosion.”

Ponds in DeKalb County’s inventory range in size from 500 square feet to more than 10 acres. Previously, DeKalb was able to service approximately 150 ponds annually, but with the new funding, is on track to complete restoration and maintenance of 350 through 2020.

To increase efficiency by matching contractor capabilities, the county’s pond inventory is ranked by tier to indicate the level of work required. For example, a Tier 1 pond may exhibit a minimal amount of overgrown and shrubs, while a Tier 7 pond has a large amount of overgrowth and trees, as well areas that should be cleared in standing water.

DeKalb County manages three water systems, including drinking water, wastewater and stormwater. Since 2017, DeKalb County has improved these systems and customer service by:

· Releasing 37,000 previously held water bills

· Installing more than 18,000 new water meters

· Upgrading the Scott Candler water treatment plant with an $11 million project

· Getting the sanitary sewer Consent Decree program back on track

· Rehabilitating nearly 150,000 linear feet of sewer pipes

· Procuring nearly $135 million in contracts for sewer improvements

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