Stormwater is the water from rain, snow, and sleet that travels down our gutters into the storm drain. Stormwater flows directly into our rivers, lakes, and streams. It is almost never treated, so everything stormwater collects from the land surface, roadways, sidewalks, parking lots, construction sites, business parks, etc., is carried to gutters, storm drains, canals, drainageways, and finally ends up in our local rivers and streams. It is estimated that more than 1/2 of the pollution in our nations waterways comes from stormwater runoff.
Nonpoint Source Pollution
In the past, it was thought that water pollution was caused mainly by industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plant discharges. A lot of effort was put into cleaning up these "point sources" of waste water. Now, the effort is being expended to clean up nonpoint source pollution, water pollution that is generated all over and carried to rivers and streams in pipes and ditches.
The problem with nonpoint source pollution is that it is very expensive to treat and discharge. Treatment facilities would have to be very large to treat storm peak flows and would sit unused more that 95% of the time.
The best way to improve stormwater quality is to treat the source and don't let runoff get polluted in the first place. These methods are called Best Management Practices (BMPs).
The Public Works Department provides stormwater protection with maintenance and construction of the drainage facilities throughout the city. Street sweeping is provided regularly to insure the reduction or elimination of dirt or leaves that enter the drainage system. Leaves and grass create organics that create algae blooms in our lakes. These blooms are not aesthetically pleasant to view and are bad for the aquatic life.
Drainage facilities are man-made structures designed to collect, divert or discharge stormwater such as ditches, culverts, and retention ponds. We routinely clean the ditches and culverts, sweep the streets, and mow the retention ponds to ensure that the city's stormwater management functions properly.
We are currently working on revising our Stormwater Master Plan with new funding options being pursued.
For more information on stormwater and how you can help please view the links below: