Stormwater pollution can be controlled if everyone plays a part in preventing these substances from entering the storm drain inlets in the streets where they live and work. You can help prevent stormwater pollution by eliminating illicit discharges; exercising responsible use of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers in lawn and landscape maintenance; and proper disposal of used oil and toxic materials.
Types of Stormwater Pollution
Pollutants enter the water environment from two main sources: point and non-point sources - also referred to as direct or indirect flows.
Types of Stormwater Pollution:
• Illicit Discharge
• Herbicides, Pesticides, and Fertilizers
• Oils & Toxins
Understanding Illicit Discharge
An illicit discharge is defined in the federal regulations as any discharge to a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) that is not composed entirely of storm water."
There are two modes of entry, direct and indirect. Direct Entry flows in the storm drains created by illicit/improper connections between sanitary sewer and storm drain system.
Indirect Entry flows in the storm drains created by pollutants that enter the storm drain system through an inlet or through the joints of the pipe (infiltration). Businesses should have grease, sand or oil traps tested and pumped annually. This will keep the City’s sanitary sewer system from having back-ups. This is an EPD Regulation.
Nationally, one fourth of the pollutants found in rivers and streams originate from residential use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. These materials can enter into the storm drain system through illegal dumping, run-off from excessive lawn irrigation, and from heavy rains and from there they can be discharged directly into our waterways.
Proper disposal of used motor oil and toxic materials. There are many products used in and around our home, garage, boat, and car that may not look hazardous, but can harm humans or damage the environment if improperly used or disposed. Hazardous products are those that contain chemicals considered toxic to humans, aquatic life, wildlife, or have other harmful properties, like high flammability.
Did you know that small amounts of car fluids (oils and coolant) and toxic chemicals can contaminate our drinking water and harm fish, turtles, birds, and all wildlife? Used motor oil is a hazardous waste because it contains heavy metals picked up from the engine during use. Fortunately, it is recyclable because it becomes dirty from use, rather than actually wearing out. Remember, since motor oil is toxic to humans, wildlife, and plants, it should be disposed of at a local recycling or disposal facility. Before disposal, used motor oil should be stored in a plastic or metal container with a secure lid, rather than being dumped in a landfill or down the drain.
Did you know that the improper handling, storage, and disposal of chemicals (e.g., pool cleaning chemicals) can lead to contaminated stormwater? Be aware that hazardous chemicals are used in many household products including certain cleaners, paints, paint strippers, thinners, stains, and varnishes. Read product labels for safe use and disposal. Look for words on the labels like warning, caution, danger, and poison. Keep hazardous products in their original containers and never remove labels. When leftovers remain, never pour the products down the storm drain. Many hazardous household products can be recycled.
Soil, sand, and minerals used in landscaping or construction can be washed from land into water; usually after rain. These materials can pile up in creeks, rivers, and lakes, destroying fish-nesting areas and clouding the water so that needed sunlight may reach aquatic plants. Careless landscaping, farming, and building activities will expose sediment materials, allowing them to be washed off the land after rainfalls.
Help prevent pollution - recycle these items:
• Motor oil
• Oil filters
• Brake fluid