What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is the flow of water which results from precipitation that occurs immediately following rainfall or as the result of snow melting.
What is the concern over stormwater?
Polluted water hurts wildlife which can be found in streams, lakes, rivers and creeks. The dirt from erosion covers up fish habitats & fertilizers which can cause too much algae to grow, also hurting wildlife by using up the oxygen needed to survive. Soaps hurt fish gills & fish skin. Other chemicals which enter waterways will damage plants & animals. Another issue is the quality of storm water. When storm water falls on hard surfaces it cannot soak into the ground, which causes it to run off to lower areas.
How do you control stormwater?
Stormwater is controlled by following industry set BMP (Best Management Practice) which describes various ways to keep pollutants out of runoff & to slow down high volumes of runoff. Education and laws are just two best management practice examples. Some BMPs are constructed to protect certain areas, some designed to slow down stormwater, and some are designed to help reduce the pollutants already present. Laws that require people & businesses involved in earth disturbing activities (construction, agriculture) take steps to prevent erosion. Additionally, there are laws regarding littering, cleaning up after pets, dumping oil or other substances into storm drains. Detention ponds, which are built to temporarily hold water, fill up quickly after rainstorms and allow solids like sediment and litter to settle at the bottom and allow the water to seep away slowly. Green roofs, storm drain grates, filter strips, sediment fences and permeable paving are other BMP examples.
Rules to help reduce the amount of stormwater pollution:
» Never put anything in a storm drain.
» Do not litter.
» Pick up after your pet & dispose of pet waste in the garbage.
» Maintain your septic system by having it pumped every 3 – 5 years. Never put chemicals down the septic system.
» Maintain your car so it does not leak oil or other fluids. Wash your car at the car wash or on a grassy area so the dirt/soap does not flow down into the nearest storm drain.
» Keep household chemicals sealed where rain cannot reach them. Dispose of unwanted/old chemicals at your local household hazardous waste collection sites or events.
» Do not over fertilize your grass and never apply fertilizers or pesticides before a heavy rain. If fertilizer should fall onto your driveway or sidewalk, sweep it up instead of hosing it away. Seed bare spots in your yard to avoid erosion & consider building a rain garden in low-lying areas of your lawn.
» Mulch leaves & grass clippings and place in the yard at the curb, not in the street.
» Turn your gutter downspouts away from hard surfaces.