As the suburbs of cities like Atlanta spread further away from the city center, new infrastructure is needed to support them. Laying new roads, parking lots and sidewalks is more than likely part of that process. Without proper planning, storm water (including rain and melting snow) could ultimately cause water pollution that ends up putting Georgia residents at risk for health problems.
As rain or melting snow flow over roadways, parking lots and even roofs, it picks up pollutants such as oil. The runoff and its polluting passengers could easily end up in a river or stream. Contamination could affect the animals, flora and fauna that live in the river or rely on it for hydration or food.
Storm water runoff also affects humans who live in the area. Sewage systems can backup due to ineffective and inefficient drainage systems. If that happens, heavy metals, excess nutrients and pathogens, along with toxins can leach into the drinking water supply.
Georgia residents could end up with respiratory ailments, hepatitis and digestive ailments. Some could even contract dysentery or other diseases associated with particular pollutants. These health consequences would more than likely attract the attention of federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, among others.
Before embarking on plans to expand the infrastructure, it might be beneficial to ensure that any plans comply with federal and state environmental laws. Any necessary measures to prevent water pollution will more than likely need to be worked into any budget and plans. Knowing up front what challenges come with expanding into a particular area could end up preventing public health and environmental disasters in the future.
Source: americanrivers.org, “How Stormwater Affects Your Rivers“, Accessed on Nov. 6, 2017