Why does Rossford need a storm water utility?
In 1999, the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued storm water regulations requiring local communities to control storm water runoff. Under these regulations, Rossford must implement city-wide storm water programs that reduce storm water pollutant discharge to the “maximum extent practicable”.
What is a Storm Water Utility?
A Storm Water Utility is just like any other utility; electric, gas, water and sanitary sewer. The utility is an agency within the City responsible for expanding, improving and maintaining the storm water system. The utility charges fees for the use of the system by those who contribute runoff.
What contributes to runoff?
As rain falls on agricultural and undeveloped area, it is either absorbed into the ground or slowly runs off and dissipates. Rooftops and paved areas prevent water from being absorbed and create a faster rate of runoff. This causes localized flooding and erosion problems.
Guide to Understanding Stormwater
What is Stormwater Runoff and How Can It Become a Problem?
Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater runoff from naturally soaking into the ground. Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, road salt and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly into any body of water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterways we use for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water. Consequently, the City is required to comply with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regulations to keep stormwater drains clear and what runs through them clean. Be mindful of our resources – do your part to help.
The Effects of Pollution In Our Environment
Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals and people, and often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.
Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grown. 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 such as plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts not properly disposed of, can wash into bodies of water and choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.
Household hazardous waste like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other automotive fluids can poison aquatic life leaving land animals and people ill from ingesting diseased fish, shellfish, or polluted water. Do not dispose of household hazardous waste in sinks or toilets.
Stormwater Pollution Solutions
Recycle or properly dispose of household products that contain chemicals, such as insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other automotive fluids. Do not pour them onto the ground or into storm drains.
Excess fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute streams. In addition, yard clippings and leaves can wash into storm drains and contribute nutrients and organic matter to streams.
- Do not overwater your lawn. Consider using a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler.
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When chemical use is necessary, do so in the recommended amounts. Use organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible.
- Compost or mulch yard waste. Do not leave it in the street or sweep it into storm drains or streams.
- Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects.
Washing your car and degreasing auto parts at home can send detergents 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 body of water.
- 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 automotive fluids and batteries at designated drop-off or recycling locations.
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 health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local bodies of water.
- Permeable Pavement—Traditional concrete and asphalt do not allow water to soak into the ground. Instead these surfaces rely on storm drains to divert unwanted water. Permeable pavement systems allow rain and snowmelt to soak through, decreasing stormwater runoff.
- Rain Barrels—Rainwater can be collected from rooftops in mosquito-proof containers. The water can be used later on lawn or garden areas.
- Rain Gardens and Grassy Swales—Specially designed areas planted with native plants can provide natural places for rainwater to collect and soak into the ground. Rain from rooftop areas or paved areas can be diverted into these areas rather than into storm drains.
- Vegetated Filter Strips—Filter strips are areas of native grass or plants created along roadways or streams. They trap the pollutants stormwater picks up as it flows across driveways and streets
Dirt, oil, and debris that collect in parking lots and paved areas can be washed into the storm sewer system and eventually enter local bodies of water.
- 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 will know the best way to keep spills from harming the environment.
Erosion controls that are not 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 waterways.
- 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.
Information provided by The City of Rossford, Ohio for its residents and businesses
For more information visit: www.epa.gov
Information gathered from EPA 833-B-03-002 1-2003/2012