Keeping our storm water system working properly and maintaining its functionality takes a partnering effort of the citizens and business owners.
What is Stormwater Management Program?
We are all familiar with rain: water falling from clouds onto the surface of the earth. Although rain itself is easy to identify, what happens to rainwater after it reaches the ground surface is less obvious and reliant on the type of land cover where it rains. In urban areas like those found in the City of Clarkston, storm water runoff must be managed by the City to protect public and private property as well as protect our streams and river activities.
Both water quality and water quantity problems are created as land is developed. Even though the same amount of rain falls on a rural farm and an urban city, the city will have a much larger amount of storm water runoff since it has more impervious surfaces like asphalt and concrete. Often the runoff is large enough to cause flooding and erosion problems due to the rapidly moving water.
It’s been 30 years since the Clean Water Act began the process of cleaning up the country’s waters. In 2003, a new Federal mandate entitled the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) was enacted. This regulation adds new requirements for the control and management of storm water quality and quantity on all municipalities. The City of Clarkston is responsible for compliance with new Federal and State regulations on water quality as well as providing storm water management facilities and services.
All of these services are done to protect personal and public property as well as provide for a healthy environment. Neither the Federal nor state government provides funding for these mandated programs.
Storm Water Infrastructure
The City has several types of infrastructure when it comes to the storm water system. There are drop inlets which you will find on streets that don’t have a lot of curb/gutter catching water from the street transporting it underground in pipes. Streets that do have curb/gutter, you will often find curb inlets or drop basins that are designed to catch water from the street transporting it underground in pipes.
It is very important to maintain these structures to be free of any debris and silt build up causing the water flow to be limited or cut off altogether. Public Works Department is responsible for inspecting and servicing the entire storm water infrastructure to make certain the system is operating properly.
Public Works Department during the fall and winter months can be seen cleaning and clearing roughly 28 mile span of right-of-way along the roadways in an effort to keep silt and other debris from entering the storm water system through its infrastructure.
What Can Citizens Do?
The largest source of storm water pollution in Clarkston is runoff from developed property. Everyone, in one way or another, is likely to be part of the problem, but everyone can also be part of the solution. If you own a car, maintain it so it does not leak oil or other fluids. Be sure to wash it on the grass or at a car wash so the dirt and soap do not flow down the driveway and into the nearest storm drain. If you have a yard, do not over fertilize your grass. Never apply fertilizers or pesticides before a heavy rain. If fertilizer falls onto driveways or sidewalks, sweep it up instead of hosing it away. Mulch leaves and grass clippings and place leaves in the yard at the curb, not in the street. Doing this keeps leaves out of the gutter, where they can wash into the nearest storm drain. Turn your gutter downspouts away from hard surfaces, seed bare spots in your yard to avoid erosion and consider building a rain garden in low-lying areas of your lawn. If you have a septic system, maintain it properly by having it pumped every three to five years. If it is an older system, be sure it can still handle the volume placed on it today. Never put chemicals down septic systems, they can harm the system and seep into the groundwater. Pet owners should pick up after their pets and dispose of pet waste in the garbage. Keep lawn and household chemicals tightly sealed and in a place where rain cannot reach them. Dispose of old or unwanted chemicals at household hazardous waste collections sites or events. Never put anything in a storm drain and don’t litter.
By keeping your yards free from the accumulation of leaves and debris will have a positive impact on the storm water system.
The best method for eliminating debris and leaves is to bag your leaves for pick up.
When doing yard work, please do not set piles of leaves or limbs near to or on top of a storm water drain.