IN Phoenixville Area Fall 2017 - Page 62

Stormwater Management 101 What is Stormwater Runoff? Stormwater runoff is precipitation (rain or snowmelt) that flows across the land. Stormwater may infiltrate into soil; discharge directly into streams, water bodies, or drain inlets; or evaporate back into the atmosphere. In the natural environment, most precipitation is absorbed by trees and plants or permeates into the ground, which results in stable stream flows and good water quality. Things are different in the built environment. Rain that falls on a roof, driveway, patio or lawn runs off the surface more rapidly, picking up pollutants as it goes. This stormwater runoff flows into streams or storm drains that discharge into waterways like the French Creek, the Schuylkill River and eventually the Delaware Bay. dirt/sediment, trash, and animal waste. These pollutants “hitch a ride” with the stormwater and flow untreated into local streams, polluting our waters. • Stream Bank Erosion: When stormwater flows into streams at unnaturally high volumes and speeds, the power of these flows can cause severe stream bank erosion. Eroding banks can eat away at streamside property, create dangerous situations, and damage natural habitat for fish and other aquatic life. This erosion is another source of sediment pollution in streams. • Threats to human health: Stormwater runoff can carry many toxic pollutants, such as toxic metals, organic compounds, bacteria, and viruses. Polluted stormwater can contaminate drinking water supplies and hamper recreational opportunities as well as threaten fish and other aquatic life. Why Can Stormwater Runoff be a Problem? Poorly managed stormwater runoff can cause a host of problems. These include: • Flooding: As stormwater runs off roofs, driveways and lawns, large volumes quickly reach streams, causing them to rise quickly and flood, instead of a natural slow and steady water rise. When more impervious surfaces exist, flooding occurs more rapidly and can be more severe, resulting in damage to property and people. • Pollution: Stormwater running over roofs, driveways, roads and lawns will pick up pollutants such as oil, fertilizers, pesticides, What Can I Do to Help? As a homeowner, you can help avoid the problems associated with stormwater runoff by: • Reducing impervious areas so that the rain soaks into the ground • Planting native trees and plants which help infiltrate stormwater and increase evaporation and transpiration • Managing stormwater on-site with rain gardens, rain barrels, and similar practices Even doing these small things, you can have a big impact on improving stormwater management From “The Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater: How to develop and implement a stormwater management plan for your property.” Lancaster County Conservation District. 60 Phoenixville Area