Stormwater Pollution

Stormwater-IllustrationWhat is Stormwater?

Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that does not soak into the ground. It flows from rooftops, over paved areas, bare soil, and sloped lawns. As it flows, stormwater runoff collects and transports animal waste, litter, salt, pesticides, fertilizers, oil & grease, soil and other potential pollutants.

Stormwater Drainage in Halsey

Halsey’s drainage system primarily consists of a series of ditches that flow into two main ditches, which then flow directly into muddy creek and ultimately into the Willamette River. The stormwater system is entirely separate from the sewer system, which means that contaminated stormwater entering the local waterways via our drainage system is untreated, and otherwise known as stormwater pollution.

Types of Stormwater Pollution & How to Prevent Them

There are many types of pollutants that find their way into storm drains. Some common pollutants found in storm sewers and creeks include:

  • Animal waste
  • Litter
  • Motor oil
  • Yard clippings
  • Fertilizers and pesticides
  • Soapy car wash water
  • Eroded sediment from construction projects
It’s important to remember that any type of surface water runoff, not just rainfall, can run into the storm sewer and collect in the stormwater management system. For example, when you wash your car on the driveway, that water, dirt, and grime ends up in the system. That’s why we need to be careful with what we put into the storm sewers as traces of all this material can end up in the stormwater system and our local waterways.Here are some things you can do to prevent stormwater pollution:

  • Remember: Only rain belongs in the drain!
  • Don’t dump anything down storm drains. Be sure to clear away leaves and debris.
  • Wash your car over your lawn or gravel.
  • This allows the ground to neutralize the soap and grime from your car rather than sending it directly to our creeks and streams. Use biodegradable or non-toxic soap that is phosphate-free. You can also take your car to a commercial car wash where wastewater is either recycled or treated.
  • Keep your car well-maintained.
  • Fix any fluid leaks promptly and make sure to clean up any spills. If you perform your own auto-maintenance, be sure to dispose of fluids properly. For information on disposal, contact Sweet Home Sanitation.
  • Use lawn or garden chemicals sparingly.
  • Choose organic alternatives when possible and check the weather forecast to avoid applying them before a storm.
  • Mow your lawn less often.
  • Try to keep your lawn at least 3″ in height to minimize weed growth, reduce the need for watering, and decrease the likelihood of pests. Leaving the clippings on the lawn can also help block weeds and retain moisture. Sweep your sidewalks and driveway rather than hosing them down.Plant native, low maintenance plants and grasses.
  • They often have longer root systems, which reduce the amount of chemicals and water needed.
  • Minimize runoff by not over-watering your lawn and garden.
  • Keep sprinklers on a timer to avoid pooling water.
  • Clean up pet waste.
  • Bag up pet waste and dispose of it in the trash to prevent harmful bacteria from washing into local waterways.
  • Consider minimizing impervious surfaces around your home.
  • Use bricks, gravel, cobbles, natural stone, or permeable pavers instead of asphalt or concrete when possible.
  • Do not drain your pool, spa, or fountain to a storm drain.
  • Allow chlorine to dissipate for several days. Test the water to ensure the residual chlorine is zero before slowly draining to a landscaped area.
  • Report Illicit Discharge
  • An illicit (illegal) discharge is any discharge to a municipal storm sewer system – storm drains, pipes, and ditches – that is not composed entirely of stormwater. Please report illicit discharge to the City of Halsey at 541-369-2522.
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