What is stormwater?
Stormwater is the runoff that results from precipitation. As this water flows over construction sites, farm fields, lawns, driveways, parking lots, and streets, it picks up sediment, nutrients, bacteria, metals, pesticides, and other pollutants. Unlike sanitary sewers that go to a treatment plant, most stormwater discharges directly to local water bodies. Increasing amounts of impervious surfaces in the City, such as roof tops, driveways, parking lots, and streets, decrease the ability of the water to soak into the ground, thus increasing the potential for flooding from greater volumes of runoff entering the city’s storm sewer and drainage system at a faster rate.
Why does stormwater have to be managed?
Stormwater is managed to protect homes, property, the environment, streams, and rivers from damage due to flooding, pooling, erosion and harmful pollutants. Stormwater runoff must be channeled through a system of pipes, culverts, ditches, swales, catch basins, and storm drains before it can be safely discharged into local streams and rivers. Even if a property has never flooded, the stormwater that flows off that property must be managed so that it doesn’t contribute to flooding in other areas.
The Clean Water Act (CWA) was enacted by Congress and signed by the President to establish environmental programs, including the NPDES program, to protect the Nation’s waters and direct EPA to issue rules on to how implement this law. Many municipalities across the nation are now required to obtain a NPDES Permit and abide by rules, regulations, and standards to monitor runoff that enters the Storm Sewers. As part of the NPDES permit, programs must be established for public education and outreach, public involvement and participation, public education and outreach, illicit discharge detection elimination, construction site runoff control, post-construction runoff control, and pollution prevention and good housekeeping. The programs listed above are federally mandated, however, federal funding is not available for their implementation. It is up to each individual municipality to secure funding.