The family friendly event was hosted in Colony Park of Richmond County and offered playful water activities, fun and informative games, and a hot dog grill out. Phinizy’s education department walked children and parents through a water cycle game, ESG Operations exhibited a small-scale replica of a septic system to show how they work, and Adopt-A-Stream shared techniques for monitoring water quality.
The purpose of the event was to educate the community about septic system maintenance, pet waste management, and storm drainage fundamentals and protection as part of a larger collaborative project with the Augusta Engineering Department and Georgia Environmental Protection Division. The Center’s role under this collaboration has been to develop and implement outreach strategies aimed at reducing the conveyance of bacteria into local streams in areas where bacteria levels are a concern.
There are over 800 stream, river, and lake segments listed in Georgia over concerns of different types of pollution, but fecal coliform bacteria is the most common one. Fecal coliform bacteria are a broad group of nonpathogenic bacteria that have been used by regulatory groups to indicate potential contact of fecal matter from a warm-blooded animal with the water. In urban areas, like Richmond County, a large portion of the land area is impervious and rainwater can’t soak into the soil, so storm water washing pollutants, including bacteria, into local water bodies is a major concern. Common sources of bacterial contamination in urban areas include waste from pets or wildlife, failing septic systems, and leaky or overflowing sewer lines. Since stormwater runoff is generated from different sources – pavements, yards, driveways, and roofs, the source of a contamination problem can be hard to identify. It also means efforts to control pollution must include individuals and residential communities in cooperation with commercial operations and local governments.
In order to change behaviors that contribute to storm water pollution, the public must be aware of those behaviors and concerned about their impacts on water quality. We are happy to be able to work together with the public to make the changes that are needed in order to have clean water for years to come!