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MUNICIPAL STORMWATER PROGRAM UPDATE - JUNE 10, 2014
Presented by Kathleen McGowan, PE, Geosyntec


The Question: What is Stormwater pollution?


Stormwater pollution is caused by any activity, which adds or contributes water and/or debris to the storm drain system. Activities include over-watering lawns and hosing down driveways to name a few. Runoff from sprinklers or hoses can carry contaminants – fertilizers, animal waste, pesticides, litter, automotive fluids into the Ocean.

Unlike sewage, which goes to treatment plants, urban runoff flows untreated through the storm drain system. Anything thrown, swept or poured into the street, gutter or a catch basin–the curbside openings that lead into the storm drain system–can flow directly into creek beds and the Ocean. This includes pollutants like trash, pet waste, cigarette butts, motor oil, anti-freeze, runoff from pesticides and fertilizers, paint from brushes and containers rinsed in the gutter and toxic household chemicals.

The Answer:

Everyone in the City of Palos Verdes Estates can help prevent stormwater pollution. It is often caused by everyday behavior that you may not realize contributes to the problem. Simple behavioral changes are all it takes to prevent stormwater pollution, if we all do our part. Find out how below:

Each of us contributes to stormwater pollution each day by: You can help reduce and/or eliminate the contaminants from entering the storm drain system by:
Dropping litter on the ground, allowing paper or trash to blow into the street, and/or dropping a cigarette butt on the ground. Avoid throwing litter into the street. Trash-laden gutters increase neighborhood pollution and clog storm drains causing street flooding. Storm drains and flood control channels carry surface runoff directly to the environment without treatment. Make sure that runoff carries only rainwater.
Walking your dog without picking up after it.
Pick up after your dog. Animal waste, when left on the ground, washes down into the storm drains and contaminates our local waterways. Carry pet waste bags to make clean up easy.
Changing oil and placing it in the gutter or trash can. Recycle Used Motor Oil. Take your used motor oil and filters to a used oil collection facility.
Hosing leaves or dirt off driveway or sidewalk into the street or disposing yard waste in a improper manner. Recycle your yard waste. Soggy yard waste is a major contributor to clogged storm drains and street and neighborhood flooding. Place your yard waste in the designated green containers. Make sure you “grasscycle. Grasscycling can save water and fertilizer.
Spraying the lawn with pesticide or watering the lawn or garden and letting the water run into the street.
Be smart when you apply pesticides or fertilizers. Do not apply pesticides or fertilizers before it rains. Do not over-water after application. Read the label and do not apply more than recommended. As an alternative, use yard waste as mulch, as natural fertilizer, or as ground cover.
Washing off paint brushes under an outdoor faucet.

Don’t use harsh, abrasive or toxic chemicals around the house. Select water-based products over solvent-based products when available (e.g. paint, glue, shoe polish). Also, avoid aerosol sprays – choose a pump spray or other alternatives.
Dumping trash illegally.
Report illegal dumping. To report illegal dumping anytime call: 1(800) 303-0003
Washing your cars in your driveway that allows the wash water to run onto the pavement and into a gutter. Wash your car on the lawn or have it serviced at a local professional car wash, to prevent runoff.


Municipal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits

NPDES permits outline the regulatory requirements of municipal storm water management programs and establish requirements to help protect the beneficial uses of the receiving waters. They require permittees to develop and implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to control/reduce the discharge of pollutants to waters of the United States to the maximum extent practicable (MEP).

Water Conservation

Saving Practices Amount Saved
Have your lawn watered only when needed. Step on your grass. If it springs back when you lift your foot, it doesn’t need water. Have your sprinklers set for days between watering. 750-1500 gallons a month
Have leaking faucets and plumbing joints fixed immdiately 20 gallons a day
Have water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors installed 500-800 gallons a month
Run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwaters 300-800 gallons a month
Shorten your showers 150 gallons or more per shower. At least a week, that more than 600 gallons a month
Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks 150 gallons or more each time. At once a week, that’s more than 600 gallons a month
Don’t use your toilet as your ashtray or waste basket. 150 gallons or more each time. At once a week, that’s more than 600 gallons a month
Capture tap water. While you wait for hot water to come down the pipes, catch the flow in a watering can to use later on house plants or in your garden. 200-300 gallons a month
Don’t water sidewalks, driveway or gutter Have your sprinklers adjusted so that water lands on your lawn or garden where it belongs. 500 gallons a month

 

Last updated: 6/11/2014 2:57:03 PM