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Getting involved is a great way to keep your neighborhood and local waterways clean. Here are a few simple ways to help keep pollutants out of local water bodies:
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Discharge pipes and drain outlets are required to be a minimum of 10’ from property lines and the street, if the drainage is causing issues for adjacent property, then code officials may require the minimum distance be increased.
City staff may be able to provide advice for how to resolve basic storm water problems, however it is always recommended that you contact a professional civil engineer.
No. The City does not have funds available or currently collect a tax for stormwater related problems. If the problem is on publicly owned City property, then the problem can be resolved using City funds, if the problem is on private property, then there is nothing the city can do.
Private drainage and erosion issues, as well as ground water issues, are the responsibility of the property owner. Drainage directed from gutters, downspouts or other private systems to neighboring properties is a civil matter between the property owners. Driveways, and their associated culverts or bridges, that cross public drainage systems (e.g., that cross over ditches or streams) are also property owner responsibilities. Information or assistance maybe available from Public Works about the cause of the problem and possible solutions; however, the city cannot recommend a particular contractor or undertake any work outside a city easement. Property owners are responsible for routine grounds maintenance such as grass mowing and trash / debris removal – owners should ensure that systems and structures are kept free of yard waste (grass clippings, tree trimmings, and leaves) or other obstructions that may block the flow of water, including: trees, shrubs and other growth within easements: driveways and their associated culverts or bridges; and fences, which are allowed in easements as long as they do not block the flow of stormwater.
Stormwater pollution is when water from rainstorms, garden houses and sprinklers causes runoff that collects harmful debris and flows through local creeks, rivers and lakes - eventually draining, untreated into the ocean.
A watershed is an area of land that collects water whenever it rains or snows. Through gravity, water is channeled into soils, groundwater, creeks and lakes and drains into larger bodies of water such as rivers. Eventually, the flows to tan ocean. Watershed and whatever we do to the land will affect water quality downstream.
No. Storm water flows do not receive any treatment because of the sheer volume of runoff on even the driest day.
In most cases the sanitary sewer system and the municipal storm drain system are two completely separate water drainage systems.
Along the coast, storm water pollution poses a health risk to beach goers swimming or fishing particularly within 400 yards of flowing storm drain outlets. Countless marine animals and plants living can become sick or die from contact with pollutants from runoff.
A common conventional method for managing storm water is a storm water basin. Basins are meant to collect storm water and slowly release it at a controlled rate so that downstream areas are not flooded or eroded. While effective for flood control, these practices have significant limitations for water quality treatment and for preventing impacts to stream systems. The main difference between a detention and a retention basin is whether or not it has a permanent pool of water – like a traditional “pond”. The water level is established by the low flow orifice. Most of the time the orifice is part of a metal or concrete structure called a riser. A detention, or dry, basin has an orifice level with the bottom of the basin so that all of the water eventually drains out and it remains dry between storms – hence, a dry basin. Retention basins have a riser with an orifice at a higher point so that it retains a permanent pool of water. The basins themselves are important for storing and slowing (attenuating) the runoff from impervious surfaces such as rooftops or pavement. The amount of treatment, or cleaning, of the water is limited. Dry detention basins control flood flows only. A retention basin can also provide water quality benefits by reducing sediments and attached pollutants. One of the most important elements of maintaining basins is making sure the low flow orifice is not blocked or clogged. Other maintenance activities include repairing erosion, removing sediment, and managing the vegetation. Repairing erosion early can save significant costs, both in the erosion and the resulting sedimentation that can end up needing to be removed from the basin. Vegetation should be kept to heights that allow inspection for animal burrows, sinkholes, wet areas, etc. along the fill embankments. Common mistakes are not mowing important areas because they are too steep or ignoring mowing completely. These basins are one of the most popular means of providing storm water management throughout most of the United States.