Storm Water Department

☰ Departments Pages

STORM WATER FAQS SHEET

Storm Water Facts Sheet

Q:       What is storm water runoff?

A: Storm water runoff is all water (rainfall) that becomes surface flow and inflow that ultimately flows into drainage facilities, streams, ponds, lakes, wetlands or other waterbodies. Storm water is prevented from naturally absorbing into the ground due to the presence of buildings, parking lots, patios, streets, sidewalks and driveways. These are called “impervious” areas.

Q:        How are utility fees used for storm water management?

A: Storm water utility fees are dedicated to the repair, replacement, maintenance and construction of public storm sewer systems to manage storm water runoff located within the dedicated right-of-wat public easements. This includes storm drains, storm piping detention facilities, (wet ponds, dry basins and underground systems are privately maintained by the individual property owner) to prevent and control flooding. The fee funds water quality monitoring and management required by the Federal Government (NPDES), erosion control efforts, storm water master planning throughout the town, public education, mapping and inventory of public facilities, Town coordination and involvement with other local agencies and local and regional efforts relating to environmental and storm water issues. A five-year Capital Improvement Plan and a Storm Water Master Plan was developed to identify and prioritize repair and improvements.

Q:       How can the Town control the quality of storm water?

A: The Town is now required to meet certain water quality requirements for all storm water discharged into the waterways and wetlands of our community. Streets are swept and catch basins are cleaned to prevent pollutants from reaching waterbodies. Pollution sources need to be identified and isolated. Stream monitoring and outfall sampling have been implemented to trace illegal discharges and/or connections to the storm water system. Implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce and control pollutants is necessary.

Q:       How can individuals reduce their impacts on storm water quality?

A:    Regular car maintenance to reduce oil drippings and other pollutants on the road, the use of biodegradable products for landscaping, car washing, etc. Recycling yard debris and not dumping it in waterways, drainage swales, or in the street:  This includes blowing leaves, grass clippings, or bark mulch from the driveways or sidewalks into the street where it can wash into the storm drains.  Not draining oil, wastewater, antifreeze, or other chemicals into catch basins. Cleaning up after your pets, not dumping excrements in or near waterways, not treating roofs or driveways with toxic chemicals used for cleaning, using biodegradable products, planting native vegetation, reducing the use of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides in your yard and garden.

Q:        What is the label affixed to the Catch Basin drain in from of my house?

A:  These emblems are part of a Public Awareness Program to remind people not to dump any chemicals or hazardous materials into these drains as most of the catch basins labeled drain directly to a water body and anything dumped into these drains may pollute the waterway or cause harm to fish and other wildlife.

Q:        Does everyone pay a storm water fee?

A:  All customers with improved properties within the Town pay a storm water fee. The fee for residential property will be the rate for one ERU (Equivalent Residential Unit) multiplied by the number of individual dwelling units on the property. Non- Residential and undeveloped properties are billed based on a formula relating to the amount of impervious area on the property.

Q:         I am not connected to any storm water system, there is no drainage system where I live, and I don’t have any runoff, why should I have to pay a storm water fee?

A: Although you may not be directly connected to a storm water system, you are provided service through the Storm water Management Program. This may be in the form of water quality improvements, drainage systems that protect area roads (on which you travel) or protection of your home/business from the impacts of regional flooding. The program is based on the premise that we all have impervious area that contributes directly or indirectly to storm water runoff. Thus, it is essential that everyone be part of the solution that supports the program. The impervious surface approach is a fair and logical means of allocating costs.

Q:        How do the fees I pay help water quality?

A: Storm water fees are used to provide a multitude of services that help to improve water quality and protect aquatic resources. A few examples include:

  • Emergency response to hazardous spills
  • Identifying and eliminating illicit discharge and connections
  • Cleaning sediments and other pollutants from catch basins and storm water facilities
  • Waterway cleaning of debris and flotsam
  • Treatment of undesirable aquatic vegetation
  • Street Sweeping
  • Long-term monitoring to assess trends and effectiveness of flood controls
  • Providing public educational information
  • Designing, constructing and maintaining storm water drainage facilities
  • Implementation of Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control inspection and enforcement

Q:        What is that large, white truck doing on my street?

A: This is the Town Vactor Truck, essentially a very powerful vacuum unit that sucks up debris from catch basins, storm drain lines, and sumps.  The vacuum compressor produced 8,000 cfm (cubic feet per minute); a standard vacuum cleaner produces about 85 cfm.  The truck also has 600 feet of 1 inch hose, to which various nozzles are attached to propel the hose up lines and bring any debris back to the manhole or catch basin for suction and removal.

Q:        How often do you clean catch basins and storm drain lines?

A: Our goal is to clean every catch basin in the Town twice annually.  Storm drain lines are cleaned while cleaning the catch basins as needed if excessive sediment is observed in the sump of the catch basin. The Storm water Division also has the ability to televise lines to inspect their integrity and determine if repairs or cleaning are needed.

Q:       What are BMPs?

A: Best Management Practices (BMPs) are a variety of managerial, operational, and structural measures that will reduce the amount of contaminants in storm water and improve the quality of water resources. BMPs are separated into two broad categories: Source controls and Treatment. As the name implies, Source-control BMPs prevent contaminants from entering waterbodies or storm water runoff. In contrast, Treatment BMPs are structures that treat storm water to remove the contaminants. Most treatment BMPs require extensive planning, design, and construction. Here are examples of water quality programs and BMPs the Storm Water Utility Board is working on:

  • Develop a comprehensive maintenance
  • Modify procedures for review of new development and existing storm water design standards.
    • Expand existing education program on use of non-polluting garden products.
    • Encourage use of native vegetation on private and public property.
    • Develop and implement an aggressive illicit connection elimination
    • Educate public on harmful effects of dumping environmentally damaging substances to storm
    • Increase public education efforts to ensure that public and privately owned trucks do not spill, leak or otherwise release
    • Develop educational materials and enforce requirements for existing and developing
    • Develop a comprehensive erosion prevention and sediment control
    • Maintain up-to-date inventories and maps of the storm water drainage

For further information you may contact the Storm Water Department at 317-422-3120.