STORMWATER 

 

Stormwater pollution from point sources and nonpoint sources is a challenging water quality problem. Unlike pollution from industry or sewage treatment facilities, which is caused by a discrete number of sources, stormwater pollution is caused by the daily activities of people everywhere. Rainwater and snowmelt run off streets, lawns, farms, and construction and industrial sites and pick up fertilizers, dirt, pesticides, oil and grease, and many other pollutants on the way to our rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. Stormwater runoff is our most common cause of water pollution. Because stormwater pollution is caused by so many different activities, traditional regulatory controls will only go so far.

 

 

Education and outreach are key components to any successful stormwater program. Please click on the following link to EPA's stormwater outreach materials for additional information http://www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater.

 

WHAT IS STORMWATER RUNOFF?

 

Stormwater  runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground.  Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground.

 

WHY IS STORMWATER RUNOFF A PROBLEM?

 

Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water.  Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water.

 

THE EFFECT OF POLLUTION!

 

Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people.

 

  • Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow.  Sediment also can destroy aquatic habitats.
  • Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms.  When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water.  Fish and other aquatic organisms can’t exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.
  • Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary.
  • Debris – plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts – washed into waterbodies can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.
  • Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life.  Land animals and people can become sick or die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
  • Polluted stormwater often affects drinking water sources.  This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.

RESIDENTIAL

 

Lawn Care:  Excess fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute streams.  In addition, yard clippings and leaves can wash into strom drains and contribute nutrients and organic matter to streams.

 

  • Don’t overwater your lawn.  Consider using a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler.
  • Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly.  When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts.  Use organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible.
  • Compost or mulch yard waste.  Don’t leave it in the street or sweep it into storm drains or streams.
  • Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects.

 

Auto Care:  Washing your car and degreasing auto parts at home can send determents and other contaminants through the storm sewer system.  Dumping automotive fluids into storm drains has the same result as dumping the materials directly into a waterbody.

 

  • Use a commercial car wash that treats or recycles its wastewater, or wash your car on your yard so the water infiltrates into the ground.
  • Repair leaks and dispose of used auto fluids and batteries at designated drop-off or recycling locations.

 

Pet Waste:  Pet waste can be a major source of bacteria and excess nutrients in local waters.

 

  • When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly.  Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method.  Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local waterbodies.

 

COMMERCIAL

 

Dirt, oil, and debris that collect in parking lots and paved areas can be washed into the storm sewer system and eventually enter local waterbodies.

 

  • Sweep up litter and debris from sidewalks, driveways and parking lots, especially around storm drains.
  • Cover grease storage and dumpsters and keep them clean to avoid leaks.
  • Report any chemical spill to the local hazardous waste cleanup team.  They’ll know the best way to keep spills from harming the environment.

 

 

CONSTRUCTION

 

Erosion controls that aren’t maintained can cause excessive amounts of sediment and debris to be carried into the stormwater system.  Construction vehicles can leak fuel, oil, and other harmful fluids that can be picked up by stormwater and deposited into local waterbodies.

 

  • Divert stormwater away from disturbed or exposed areas of the construction site.
  • Install silt fences, vehicle mud removal areas, vegetative cover, and other sediment and erosion controls and properly maintain them, especially after rainstorms.
  • Prevent soil erosion by minimizing disturbed areas during construction projects, and seed and mulch bare areas as soon as possible.

 

AUTOMOTIVE FACILITIES

 

Uncovered fueling stations allow spills to be washed into storm drains.  Cars waiting to be repaired can leak fuel, oil, and other harmful fluids that can be picked up by stormwater.

 

  • Clean up spills immediately and properly dispose of cleanup materials.
  • Provide cover over fueling stations and design or retrofit facilities for spill containment.
  • Properly maintain fleet vehicles to prevent oil, gas, and other discharges from being washing into local waterbodies.
  • Install and maintain oil/water separators.

 

 

 
 
 
Borough of Palmyra
325 S. Railroad Street, Palmyra PA, 17078
Phone (717)838-6361
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