STORMWATER MANAGEMENT FAQ
| What is storm water?|
The flow of water that results from precipitation and which occurs immediately following rainfall or as a result of snowmelt. When a rainfall event occurs, several things can happen to the precipitation. Some of the precipitation infiltrates into the soil surface, some is taken up by plants, and some is evaporated into the atmosphere. Stormwater is the rest of the precipitation that runs off land surfaces and impervious areas. Stormwater discharges are generated by precipitation and runoff from land, pavements, building rooftops and other surfaces. These hardened surfaces are called ‘impervious surfaces’ and they do not allow rainfall to infiltrate into the soil surface like natural vegetation, so more of the rainfall becomes stormwater runoff. Storm water runoff accumulates pollutants such as oil and grease, chemicals, nutrients, metals, and bacteria as it travels across land. Heavy precipitation or snowmelt can also cause sewer overflows that may contaminate water sources with untreated human and industrial waste, toxic materials, and other debris.
Where does the storm water go?
Storm water that does not evaporate or seep into the ground drains into over miles of underground storm sewer pipe that carry surface runoff to the Mississippi River (and in some areas Sugar Creek and Rock River). Every time it rains, thousands of gallons of storm water enter our storm sewer system. As the runoff flows across lawns, driveways, parking lots and streets, it collects pollutants.
What is storm water pollution?
Many people think that pollution in our streams, rivers and lakes only comes from industrial facilities or wastewater treatment plants. Even if all these sources of pollution were eliminated, much of the pollution would still remain.
The remaining source of pollution that is not caused by specific, identifiable sources are called non-point source pollution. Typical pollutants include litter; sediments from exposed soil, pet waste, detergents, pesticides and fertilizers from lawns and gardens, paints, oil, grease and toxic chemicals from motor vehicles, road salts, and household hazardous wastes.
When these materials are improperly used or disposed of, they can be picked up by storm water runoff as it flows across streets, parking lots and lawns. After this storm water runoff travels through the storm sewer system, it is discharged to receiving waters without any treatment. As a result, any pollutant that is dumped on the ground can end up in our creeks, rivers and lakes.
There are serious problems associated with polluted storm water. The pesticides, bacteria and chemicals that may be present in polluted storm water can pose a health risk to people. Aquatic plants and animals living in streams and rivers may become sick or die from contact with polluted storm water. Clogged catch basins can be unsightly and can cause flooding problems.
Since storm water is naturally channeled to or flows through underground pipes to to the Mississippi River (and in some areas Sugar Creek and Rock River). There is no opportunity for treatment to remove pollution. So, each of us must be careful to minimize or eliminate substances which may inadvertently pollute our waterways when it rains.
Who do I contact to report a complaint or to ask more questions about Stormwater?
The on-line complaint form should be completed. You can also call the Engineering Department at 752-1573. A special emergency number will be listed soon for calls related to Stormwater.
Is it okay if I let my soap run into the drain, even if it’s “biodegradable?”
No. Stormwater is the only item that should enter the storm drains. Biodegradable only means that the soap will break down over time. It may still be toxic to the environment and living creatures. Soapy water should be properly discarded inside of a sink or toilet. Click here to see a list of pollutants and what they contribute.
What rules and regulations control stormwater issues?
Illinois Drainage Law, NPDES regulations, and the City of East Moline Stormwater Control Ordinance are the main stormwater rules and regulations.
My neighbor’s stormwater runs on my property, can I divert it?
No. If the natural drainage is from their property to your property, then you cannot block the natural flow of the storm water.
Can I change how stormwater flows across my property?
Yes as long at the stormwater enters and leaves your property at the same locations as it does naturally. Also you cannot unreasonably increase the flow of the stormwater.
The intake in the street, or the pipe under the road is plugged; who is responsible for maintaining these?
The City of East Moline is responsible for maintaining city owned pipe and infrastructure. If you see that a pipe or intake is plugged please call 752-1573 or fill out the online complaint form.
There is a ravine/stream through my property; who is responsible to maintain it?
Most ravines and streams are on private property. The property owner is responsible to maintain the ravine/stream to prevent or reduce the discharge of pollutants. This maintenance shall include, but is not limited to, sediment removal, bank erosion repairs, maintenance of vegetative cover, and removal of debris from privately owned pipes and structures.
There is a swale or open drainage channel through my property; who is responsible to maintain it?
The property owner is responsible for maintenance of private drainage channels, including keeping the drainage channel free of trash, debris, excessive vegetation, and other obstacles that would pollute, contaminate, or retard the flow of water through the drainage channel. In addition, the owner shall maintain existing privately owned structures adjacent to the drainage channel.
Can I put yard waste, tree limbs, compost, concrete, chemicals, etc. into my ravine?
No. It is a violation of the storm water ordinance to release contaminates into the storm water. Common contaminates include trash, yard waste, stones, earth, concrete, wood, lawn chemicals, pet waste, wastewater (grass clippings), oil, petroleum products, cleaning products, paint products, hazardous waste and sediment.
Why can’t I dump my natural material (yard waste, sticks, compost, etc.) into my ravine?
These materials get picked up during storm events and are carried into the drainage channel where they cause blockages of the drainage channel, pipes, and culverts. These blockages can cause flooding at downstream properties.
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