By David Vaughn, Engineering Program Specialist
As new homes and subdivisions are built in our growing community, ensuring the construction sites are safe for nearby people and our waterways is essential. Preventing stormwater pollution is critical to preserving the quality of our creeks and tributaries.
When rainfall flows over the ground, it’s discharged into the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, or MS4, which transports the water to local creeks and tributaries. The MS4 consists of city streets, gutters, ditches, and storm drains. When pollutants aren’t appropriately contained, they can be discharged – untreated – into our local waterways.
Examples of stormwater pollutants commonly found on home-building sites are trash, sediment, concrete washout, paint, building materials, and other construction debris. The contaminants can degrade water quality and cause drainage problems such as localized flooding.
Operators of regulated residential construction sites are required to prevent stormwater pollution by implementing management practices such as silt fencing, storm inlet protection devices, designated concrete washout areas, and stabilized site entrances.
Homebuilders should also practice good housekeeping by following these simple guidelines:
- Sweep-up sediment tracked into the street from the site. It’s illegal to wash the sediment into storm drains.
- Collect and properly dispose of trash and debris.
- Check for trash and debris after it rains and throughout the project’s duration.
- Clean paint brushes in a designated area or discard them properly. It’s illegal to clean brushes and dispose of excess paint into the municipal separate storm system MS4.
- Prevent construction materials such as masonry from leaving the site.
Stormwater Pollution Reporting
The following may be signs of stormwater pollution:
- Trash, construction material, or debris entering a street, ditch, or storm drain.
- Sediment-laden stormwater runoff.
- Discolored water or water with an oily sheen.
For more information, visit our stormwater management webpage.
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