Stormwater runoff occurs when water from rain or snow and ice melting flows over the ground. Stormwater becomes a problem when it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants as it flows or when it causes flooding and erosion of streambanks. Stormwater travels through a system of pipes and roadside ditches that make up storm sewer systems. It eventually flows directly to a lake, river, stream, wetland or coastal water. All of the pollutants stormwater carries along the way empty into our waters, too, because stormwater does not get treated!
Here are some of the most important ways for Township residents to prevent stormwater pollution:
Properly dispose of hazardous substances, such as used motor oil, cleaning supplies and paint - never pour them down any part of the storm sewer system, and report anyone who does.
Use pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides properly and efficiently to prevent excess runoff of these items.
Look for signs of soil and other pollutants, such as debris and chemicals, leaving construction sites in stormwater runoff or tracked into roads by construction vehicles. Report poorly managed construction sites that could impact stormwater runoff to the Township.
Install innovative stormwater practices on residential properties, such as rain barrels or rain gardens, that capture stormwater and keep it on-site instead of letting it drain away into the storm sewer system.
Report any discharge from stormwater outfalls during times of dry weather - a sign there could be a problem with the storm sewer system.
Pick up after pets and dispose of their waste properly. No matter where pets make a mess - in a backyard or on open space - stormwater runoff can carry pet waste from the land to the storm sewer system to a stream.
Store materials that could pollute water indoors and use containers for outdoor storage that do not rust or leak to eliminate exposure of materials to stormwater.
New federal regulations enacted in December 1999 require Lower Makefield Township to improve on their existing stormwater management program over the next five years, beginning in March 2003.
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II stormwater program requires that Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) address the six required elements contained in the federal regulations to reduce water pollution: