Storm stations also are designed to protect the Flint River
Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful Director Judy Bowles
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
This summer's heavy rains have washed so much litter into the Albany storm drain system that it has clogged them, and caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage to the equipment.
You probably think that drink bottle you throw into the street is not a big deal. But the frequent rains have washed tons of litter into Albany's storm system, becoming a major health and safety issue.
Tons of litter in the holding pond between 10th and 11th Avenue was washed there by the frequent rains, and this pond was cleaned just a month and a half ago.
This is the city's newest storm station, number 103 at Oakridge at Gaines. The trash and litter washed up against those pumps is so heavy, it crushed the huge metal screen anchored in cement to protect those pumps. It will costs tens of thousands of dollars just to repair those screens, all because of litter.
"You have those storm stations and pumps we have to replace. Now this large outfall structure we're going to have to replace, because all of the grates and concrete are damaged. It causes a lot of problems. It's money we shouldn't have to spend in those areas," said Albany Public Works Director Phil Roberson.
Those storm stations also are designed to protect the Flint River, where the water from those stations drain.
"Cigarettes, if you flick it out your car, your truck window, and it goes into the catch basin, it's going to end up in our waterways. It effects the eco-system in the Flint River," said Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful Director Judy Bowles.
Next week city workers will start cleaning these holding ponds and storm drain systems because they are needed to run free to prevent flooding.
"A lot of the localized flooding you see is a result of the fact that you've got all this litter and all these items that really shouldn't go into the storm drain, in the system," Roberson said
An effort fighting litter in Albany for the last year is now moving from volunteer clean up to enforcement. The community is being asked to report littering.
"If you get us a make and a model of the car and tag number and report it to 311, then it will go before the judge," Bowles said.
Litter is causing major problems this summer because of the heavy rain, and city officials are asking the community to help stop those people trashing the town.
Last week an Albany woman was sentenced to 100 hours of community service for littering. Albany city officials are asking people to realize litter is costing the city big money, and to stop throwing trash in the street.
Public works crews will have to turn off those storm drain pumps next week after some of the ponds dry out and then they'll have to dig that trash out to clear the pump lines.