Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District
Original Release: 3/16/2018
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II
Stormwater discharges are generated by runoff from land and impervious areas such as paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops during rainfall and snow events that often contain pollutants in quantities that could adversely affect water quality. Most stormwater discharges are considered point sources and require coverage by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The primary method to control stormwater discharges is through the use of best management practices (BMPs).
Under the NPDES General Permit for Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4), most communities are required to submit Phase II stormwater management programs to detail how each individual community will comply with the Phase II mandates. These regulations require designated communities to develop and implement a storm water management plan. This program is composed of six minimum control measures:
1. Public Education
2. Public Involvement
3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
4. Construction Site Runoff Control
5. Post Construction Site Runoff Control
6. Good Housekeeping
Where does our water go? All of the water we use inside our home goes directly to the sewer system to a treatment plant where it is cleaned and released back into our steams and rivers cleaner than when it started.
How about the water from our yards, driveways, roads, ditches and parking lots? Where does this water go? It is not always easy to see after it goes down the drain, but often the rain water that falls in our yard overflows into a stream before it can be cleaned.
Rain water picks up trash and pollution—including oil and antifreeze drips from our driveway, excess fertilizer from our yards, and litter and dog waste. Once it is picked up by the rain, it moves through ditches, street gutters, and pipes to our streams, rivers, and lakes where it can cause health and safety problems for us and our children.
Because we live near Lake Erie most of our water in Northeast Ohio flows from our streams to the Lake. When you live near a stream, what you do in your yard affects the health of fish and wildlife in your stream. It also affects the health of the Lake and your safety when you visit the beach.
What can we do to keep our streams and Lake Erie healthy and safe for our use? Keep the pollutants out of rain water.
Check out the all the ways you can keep your water clean, fix drainage problems, and save money from the information provided here: http://cuyahogaswcd.org/programs/stormwater-education.