A Homeowner’s Guide to Healthy Habits for Clean Water and storm water protection
- Washing your car and degreasing auto parts at home can send detergents and other contaminants through the storm sewer system.
- Dumping automotive fluids into storm drains has the same result as dumping the materials directly into a water body.
- Use a commercial car wash that treats or recycles its wastewater, or wash your car on your yard so the water infiltrates into the ground.
- Repair leaks and dispose of used auto fluids and batteries at designated drop-off or recycling locations.
- Pet waste can be a major source of bacteria and excess nutrients in local waters.
- When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly.
- Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method.
- Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local water bodies.
Home Repair and Improvement
- Before beginning an outdoor project, locate the nearest storm drains and protect them from debris and other materials.
- Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such as concrete and mortar.
- Use hazardous substances like paints, solvents, and cleaners in the smallest amounts possible, and follow the directions on the label. Clean up spills immediately, and dispose of the waste safely. Store substances properly to avoid leaks and spills.
- Purchase and use nontoxic, biodegradable, recycled, and recyclable products whenever possible.
- Clean paint brushes in a sink, not outdoors. Filter and reuse paint thinner when using oil-based paints.
- roperly dispose of excess paints through a household hazardous waste collection program, or donate unused paint to local organizations.
- Excess fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute streams.
In addition, yard clippings and leaves can wash into storm drains, cause flooding and contribute nutrients and organic matter to streams.
- Don’t overwater your lawn. Consider using a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler.
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Use organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible.
- Compost or mulch yard waste. Don’t leave it in the street or sweep it into storm drains or streams.
- Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects.
- Leaking and poorly maintained septic systems release nutrients and pathogens (bacteria and viruses) that can be picked up by storm water and discharged into nearby water bodies.
- Pathogens can cause public health problems and environmental concerns.
- Inspect your system every 3 years and pump your tank as necessary (every 3 to 5 years).
- Don't dispose of household hazardous waste in sinks or toilets.
10 things Homeowners can do to help be a solution to storm water pollution
- Use fertilizers sparingly and sweep up driveways, sidewalks, and gutters
- Never dump anything down storm drains or in streams
- Vegetate bare spots in your yard
- Compost your yard waste
- Use least toxic pesticides, follow labels, and learn how to prevent pest problems
- Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces; consider a rain garden to capture runoff
- Take your car to the car wash instead of washing it in the driveway
- Check your car for leaks and recycle your motor oil
- Pick up after your pet
- Have your septic tank pumped and system inspected regularly
Provided by EPA - For more information, visit www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater
WARMINSTER’S STORMWATER TIPS:
Clean Water Is Everybody's Business
Did you know that because of impervious surfaces like pavement and rooftops, a typical city block generates more than 5 times more runoff than a woodland area of the same size? The porous and varied terrain of natural landscapes like forests, wetlands and grasslands trap rainwater and snowmelt and allow them to filter slowly into the ground. In contrast, impervious (nonporous) surfaces like roads, parking lots and rooftops prevent rain and snowmelt from infiltrating, or soaking, into the ground. Most of the rainfall and snowmelt remains above the surface, where it runs off rapidly in unnaturally large amounts.
Urbanization increases the variety and amount of pollutants carried into streams, rivers and lakes. The pollutants include: Sediment Oil, grease and toxic chemicals from motor vehicles Pesticides and nutrients from lawns and gardens Viruses, bacteria and nutrients from pet waste and failing septic systems Road salts Heavy metals from roof shingles, motor vehicles and other sources Thermal pollution from dark impervious surfaces such as streets and rooftops These pollutants can harm fish and wildlife populations, kill native vegetation, foul drinking water supplies, and make recreational areas unsafe and unpleasant.
What Homeowners Can Do
To decrease polluted runoff from paved surfaces, households can develop alternatives to areas traditionally covered by impervious surfaces. Porous pavement materials are available for driveways and sidewalks, and native vegetation and mulch can replace high maintenance grass lawns. Homeowners can use fertilizers sparingly and sweep driveways, sidewalks and roads instead of using a hose. Instead of disposing of yard waste, they can use the materials to start a compost pile. And homeowners can learn to use integrated pest management to reduce dependence on harmful pesticides.
In addition, households can prevent polluted runoff by picking up after pets and using, storing and disposing of chemicals properly. Drivers should check their cars for leaks and recycle their motor oil and antifreeze when these fluids are changed. Drivers can also avoid impacts from car wash runoff (e.g., detergents, grime, etc.) by using car wash facilities that do not generate runoff. Households served by septic systems should have them professionally inspected and pumped every three to five years. They should also practice water conservation measures to extend the life of their septic systems.
WARMINSTER’S STORMWATER PROGRAM
A Homeowner’s Guide to Healthy Habits for Clean Water As stormwater flows over driveways, lawns, and sidewalks, it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants. Stormwater can flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water.
Make your home the solution to stormwater pollution!
By practicing healthy household habits, homeowners can keep common pollutants like pesticides, pet waste, grass clippings, and automotive fluids off the ground and out of stormwater and help protect lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, and coastal waters. Please share these habits with your neighbors!
Vehicle and Garage
• Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on a lawn or other unpaved surface to minimize the amount of dirty, soapy water flowing into the storm drain.
• Check your car, boat, motorcycle, and other machinery and equipment for leaks and spills. Make repairs as soon as possible. Clean up spilled fluids with an absorbent material like kitty litter or sand, and don’t rinse the spills into a nearby storm drain. Remember to properly dispose of the absorbent material.
• Recycle used oil and other automotive fluids at participating service stations. Don’t dump these chemicals down the storm drain or dispose of them in your trash.
Lawn and Garden
• Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Avoid application if the forecast calls for rain; otherwise, chemicals will be washed into your local stream.
• Select native plants and grasses that are drought and pest resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides.
• Sweep up yard debris, rather than hosing down areas. Compost or recycle yard waste when possible.
• Don’t overwater your lawn. Water during the cool times of the day and don’t let water runoff into the storm drain.
• Cover piles of dirt and mulch being used in landscaping projects to prevent these pollutants from blowing or washing off your yard and into local waterbodies. Vegetate bare spots in your yard to prevent soil erosion.
• When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly. Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local waterbodies.
Home Repair and Improvement
• Before beginning an outdoor project, locate the nearest storm drains and protect them from debris and other materials.
• Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such as concrete and mortar.
• Use hazardous substances like paints, solvents, and cleaners in the smallest amounts possible, and follow the directions on the label. Clean up spills immediately, and dispose of the waste safely. Store substances properly to avoid leaks and spills.
• Purchase and use nontoxic, biodegradable, recycled, and recyclable products whenever possible.
• Clean paint brushes in a sink, not outdoors. Filter and reuse paint thinner when using oil-based paints. Properly dispose of excess paints through a household hazardous waste collection program, or donate unused paint to local organizations.
• Flush responsibly. Flushing household chemicals like paint, pesticides, oil, and antifreeze can destroy the biological treatment taking place in the system. Other items, such as diapers, paper towels, and cat litter, can clog the septic system and potentially damage components.
• Reduce the amount of paved area and increase the amount of vegetated area in your yard. Use native plants in your landscaping to reduce the need for watering during dry periods. Consider directing downspouts away from paved surfaces onto lawns and other measures to increase infiltration and reduce polluted runoff.
Swimming Pool and Spa
• Drain your swimming pool only when a test kit does not detect chlorine levels.
• Whenever possible, drain your pool or spa into the sanitary sewer system.
• Properly store pool and spa chemicals to prevent leaks and spills, preferably in a covered area to avoid exposure to stormwater.
Info courtesy of http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/solution_to_pollution.pdf
What is Stormwater Runoff?
Stormwater runoff is precipitation from rain or snowmelt that flows over the ground. When land is altered to build homes and other developments, the natural system of trees and plants over relatively spongy soil is replaced with harder impervious surfaces like sidewalks, streets, decks, roofs, driveways, and even lawns over compacted soils which prevent stormwater from soaking into the ground. As stormwater flows over ground, it can pick up chemicals, debris, dirt, and other pollutants that enter the storm sewer system.
Why is Stormwater Runoff a Concern?
Once pollutants from stormwater enter the storm sewer system, they are discharged UNTREATED into local streams and waterways. The increased concentrations of pollutants in storm water/drain water (called nonpoint source pollution) include sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen from fertilizers, salts, and oil/grease from roads and parking surfaces, and bacteria from pet waste. This nonpoint source pollution is then discharged into the same bodies of water that we use for drinking, fishing, and recreation.
What are the effects of Stormwater?
Polluted stormwater can lead to an overall decline in stream health that results in a negative impact to fish, wildlife, and recreation.
- Increased volumes of stormwater entering streams due to impervious surfaces, preventing infiltration and increasing runoff, can lead to erosion of stream and lake banks. This in turn results in large amounts of sediments entering our waterways. Higher volumes of water entering our water bodies also leads to flooding.
- Sediments cloud water, making it difficult for aquatic plants and animals to survive.
- Excess nutrients, often a result of fertilizer runoff from our lawns, causes algae blooms. When algae die and decompose, the process removes oxygen from the water. Fish and aquatic organisms cannot live in water with low oxygen levels.
- Bacteria, often from dog waste left on the ground, can wash into local streams and create a health hazard.
- Debris and trash that is left on streets, sidewalks and parking lots is washed into our water bodies degrading them aesthetically and harming wildlife that use the water as a home.
- Pollution from stormwater degrades streams and waterways used for drinking water. This can affect public health and lead to increased costs to treat the water.
Every storm water detention basin located in the communities of Warminster Township plays an important role in improving and protecting water quality. To report an environmental emergency call Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Hotline: 484-250-5900, Warminster Township Police (215)672-1000, or Township Administration Office (215)443-5414.
Stormwater Management Information
WARMINSTER TOWNSHIP’S STORM WATER MANAGEMENT ORDINANCE
As many residents and business owners of Warminster are aware, Warminster Township is responsible for monitoring the storm sewer system for pollutants and to remove, or direct to have removed, any identified sources of any pollution. In the case of storm water, a pollutant is basically anything that is not rain water or snow melt. Common pollutants in storm water come from pet waste in yards, over fertilizing of lawns, washing vehicles in driveways or streets, and improper disposal of cleansers, oil and paint.
The Township’s responsibilities regarding removal of pollution from storm water stems from legislation enacted by the Federal Government. The program that mandates these responsibilities is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (NPDES MS4 for short) and is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) oversees all Pennsylvania municipalities as they work to comply with the NPDES requirements.
Warminster, like all other municipalities in Pennsylvania, is required to have an ordinance that regulates the elimination of storm water pollution sources and provide requirements for proper management of storm water runoff. In 2005, the Warminster Township Board of Supervisors adopted the Storm Water Management Ordinance. This ordinance contains the requirements that are needed to help keep storm water and ultimately our streams, rivers, and oceans clean. Copies of the Storm Water Management Ordinance are available at the Township Administration Building for review or copies can be purchased for a small fee.
A link to additional information regarding the Municipal Storm Water Management Program can be found under the “Stormwater” link in the “Quick Links” section of the Township website. This webpage contains valuable information regarding the NPDES program. Several links to EPA and PADEP are provided as well as numerous educational pamphlets that can be downloaded. All residents and businesses within Warminster are encouraged to review this information and to help in Township efforts to keep our water clean.Township Staff and the Environmental Advisory Council are also great resources for storm water related information. Contact information can be obtained on the Township website (www.warminstertownship.org).
LITTLE NESHAMINY CREEK - River Conservation Plan (RCP)
On Tuesday, May 29th 2007, the Heritage Conservancy held a public meeting at the Warminster Township Building announcing the Draft of the Little Neshaminy Creek - River Conservation Plan (RCP) Plan. This plan is available for public review and comment. For a PDF version, please use the following link: https://www.heritageconservancy.org/projects/little-neshaminy-creek-river-conservation-plan/
For more information, please contact Susan Myerov at the Heritage Conservancy at 215-345-7020, x 101. Please note that the public comment period will end on June 29, 2007. All comments may be forwarded to Susan Myerov at email@example.com
Written comments may also be mailed to:
85 Old Dublin Pike
Doylestown, PA 18901
WHEN IT RAINS – IT DRAINS
Understanding Storm water and how it can affect your money, safety, health and the environment.
Part I: Our community is preventing storm water pollution through a storm water management program. This program addresses storm water pollution from construction, new development, illegal dumping to the storm sewer system, pollution prevention, and good housekeeping practice in municipal operations. It will also continue to educate the community and get everyone involved in making sure the only thing that storm water contributes to our water is… water!
This is the first installment of an educational series sponsored by Warminster Township and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
What Happens When It Rains
• Rain is an important part of nature’s water cycle but there are times it can do more damage than good. Problems related to storm water runoff can include: Flooding caused by too much storm water flowing over hardened surfaces such as roads and parking lots instead of soaking into the ground.
• Increase in spending on maintaining storm drains and the storm sewer system that becomes clogged with excessive amounts of dirt and debris.
• Decreases in the sport fish population because storm water carries sediment and pollutants that degrade important fish habitat.
• More expensive treatment technologies to remove harmful pollutants carried by storm water into our drinking water supplies.
• Closed beaches due to high levers o bacteria carried by storm water that make swimming unsafe
Restoring Rains Reputation - What everyone can do to help!
Rain by nature is important for replenishing drinking water supplies, recreation and healthy wildlife habitats. It only becomes a problem when pollutants from our activities like car maintenance, lawn care and dog walking are left on the ground for rain to wash away. Here are some of the most important ways to prevent storm water pollution:
• Properly dispose of hazardous substance such as used oil, cleaning supplies and paint – never pour them down any part of the storm sewer system and report anyone who does.
• Use pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides properly and efficiently to prevent excess runoff.
• Look for signs of soil and other pollutants, such as debris and chemicals leaving construction sites in storm water runoff or tracked into roads by construction vehicles. Report poorly managed constructions sites that could impact storm water runoff to your community: 215-443-5414.
• Install innovative storm water practices on residential property such as rain barrels or rain gardens that capture storm water and keep it on site instead of letting it drain away into the storm sewer system.
• Report any discharges from storm water outfalls during times of dry weather – a sign that there could be a problem with the storm sewer system.
• Pick up after pets and dispose of their waste property. No matter where pets make a mess – in the backyard or at the park – storm water runoff can carry pet waste from the land to the storm sewer system to a stream
• Store materials that could pollute storm water indoors and use containers for outdoor storage that do not rust or leak to eliminate exposure of materials to storm water.
Part II: Our community is preventing storm water pollution through a Storm Water Management Program. This program addresses storm water pollution from construction, new development, illegal dumping to the storm sewer system, pollution prevention, and good housekeeping practices in municipal operations. It will also continue to educate the community and get everyone involved in making sure the only thing that storm water contributes to our water is… water!
This is the second installment of an educational series sponsored by Warminster Township and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
What is Storm Water? Storm water is water from precipitation that flows across the ground and pavement when it remains or when snow and ice melt. The water seeps into the ground or drains into what we call storm sewers. These are the drains you see at street corners or at low point on the sides of streets. Collectively, the draining water is call storm water runoff.
Why is Storm Water “Good Rain Gone Wrong”? Storm water becomes a problem when it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants as it flows or when it causes flooding and erosion of stream banks. Storm water travels through a system of pipes and roadside ditches that make up storm sewer systems. It eventually flows directly to a lake, river, stream, wetland or coastal water. All of the pollutants storm water carries along the way empty into our waters too, because storm water does not get treated!
Pet waste left on the ground gets carried away by storm water contributing harmful bacterial parasites and viruses to our water. Vehicles drip fluids (oil, grease, gasoline, antifreeze, brake fluid, etc.) onto paved areas where storm water runoff carries them though our storm drains and into our water. Chemicals used to grow and maintain beautiful lawns and gardens, if not used properly, can run off into storm drains when it rains or when we over-water our lawns and gardens.
Waste from chemicals and materials used in construction can wash into the storm sewer system when it rains. Soil that erodes from construction sites causes environmental degradation including harming fish and shellfish populations that are important for recreation and our economy.
WARMINSTER TOWNSHIP ORDINANCE #629, STORMWATER MANAGEMENT MS-4 ORDINANCE.
Warminster Township the Board of Supervisors has enacted an ordinance which is based on the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Phase II Stormwater Management Program. This ordinance meets the new requirements regarding municipal separate storm sewer systems and is the best interests of the health, safety and welfare of the residents and the watershed. It minimizes the harms and maximizes the benefits of storm sewer systems by regulating activities that cause problems. Residents should be aware of the following:
Section 524: Prohibited Discharges:
A. No person in the municipality shall allow, or cause to allow, stormwater discharge in the Municipality’s separate storm sewer system which are not composed entirely of stormwater, except (1) as provided the section B below and (2) discharges allowed under a state or federal permit.
B. Discharges which may be allowed, based on a finding by the Municipality, that do not significantly continue to pollute to surface waters are:
- Discharge from fire fighting
- Uncontaminated water from foundation or footing drains
- Potable water source including glows from riparian habitats
- Dechlorinated water
- Hydrant flushing
- Lawn watering
- Irrigation drainage
- Dechlorinated swimming pool
- Car washing discharges
- Uncontaminated spring water
- Water from crawl space pumps.
C. In the event that the municipality determines that any of discharges identified above significantly contribute to pollution of water of the Township, or is no notified by DEP, the municipally will notify the responsible person to cease the discharge
D. Upon notice provide by the Municipality, the discharger will have a reasonable time, determined by the Municipality to cease the discharge consistent with the degree of pollution caused by the discharge. Nothing under this section shall affect a discharger’s responsibilities under state law.
Section 525: Prohibited Connections
A. The following connections are prohibited except as provided in the section above:
1. Any drain or conveyance whether on the surface or subsurface which allows any non-storm water discharge including sewage, process wastewater and wash water to enter the separate storm water system and any connections to the storm drain system from indoor drains and sinks; and,
2. Any drains or conveyance connected from a commercial or industrial land use to the separate storm sewer system which has not been document in plans maps or equivalent recorded and approved by the municipality.
Section 526: Roof Drains
A. Roof drains shall not be connected to streets sanitary or storm sewer or roadside ditches except s provided in section 526 B
B. When in the sole discretion of the municipality is more advantageous to connect directly to streets or storm sewers, connection of roof drains to streets or storm sewers may be permitted by the Municipality
This is only a brief section of Ordinance #629, which is available in it’s entirety at the Warminster Township Building.
STORMWATER, STREAMS & YOUR PROPERTY
If you live next to a stream that is located on Township property, watch the mail for a brochure about ways to protect your stream and streamside property. DEP has been visiting the township parks that have waterways and have seen the damaging results of neighborhood dumping in the park system, especially along our stream banks. As part of the DEP storm water management program and in cooperation with several other “stream conscious” agencies, we hope to make all citizens aware of ways to improve their “stream-side” living and help us prevent dumping. Please be aware that if you are cited for dumping in a park, along a stream bank, or into a stormwater inlet, you will be fined. If you see anyone dumping debris on Township property or in the creeks, please call the Township Administration @ (215) 443-5414 or Police Department at (215) 672-1000 to report it IMMEDIATELY!
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION DISTRICTS
In 2001, the Board of Supervisors approved Ordinance #570 which strictly limits the activities permitted on certain Township-owned open space parcels in order to better preserve environmentally sensitive areas. Properties that have received this Environmental Protection District zoning (EP) include Devonshire Court, the wetlands and detention areas at Meadow Glen and Barness Park. Permitted uses for these areas include storm water management, passive recreation and educational activities, environmental and conservation projects, installation of environmentally sensitive paths and trails. Residents who disturb or dump in these areas will be fined.
Township's MS4 and Our Efforts
As part of Warminster Township's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, there are six program elements called "Minimum Control Measures." These six program elements, when implemented together, are expected to result in significant reductions of pollutants discharged into receiving waterbodies. The Minimum Control Measures are listed below with links to the EPA's fact sheets, which outline the requirements.
Minimum Control Measure 1
- Public education and outreach: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/fact2-3.pdf
Minimum Control Measure 2
- Public participation and involvement: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/fact2-4.pdf
Minimum Control Measure 3
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/fact2-5.pdf
Minimum Control Measure 4
- Construction site stormwater runoff: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/fact2-6.pdf
Minimum Control Measure 5
- Post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/fact2-7.pdf
Minimum Control Measure 6
- Pollution Prevention and good housekeeping for municipal operations and maintenance: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/fact2-8.pdf
Link to all six EPA Fact Sheets:
NPDES Permit Program Basics: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=45
EPA MS4 Fact Sheet: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/swfinal.cfm
EPA Stormwater Program Overview: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=6
EPA MS4 Overview: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/munic.cfm
EPA Public Education and Outreach on Stormwater Impacts:
EPA Stormwater Outreach Materials: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwatermonth.cfm
SW BMP Menu: http://cfpub1.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/menuofbmps/index.cfm
DEP Southeast Regional Office: http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/southeastro/site/default.asp
Bucks County Conservation District: http://bucksccd.org
“TREEVITALIZE” PROGRAM CONTINUES
Working with the State Bureau of Forestry, the Heritage Conservancy and other state agencies, the Department anticipates that we will continue our involvement in the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) Tree Vitalize Program. This State program has designated $8 million to plant over 20,000 trees in Southeastern PA. The Township received 50 full-size trees (worth $15,000+) in fall of 2004, and will receive an additional 150 trees in spring and fall of 2006. According to the USDA Forestry Service, the planting of tress means improved water quality, resulting in less runoff and erosion. This allows more recharging of the ground water supply. Wooded areas help prevent the transport of sediment and chemicals into streams.
TREE MEMORIALS & PLANT DONATIONS
The Parks & Recreation Department accepts donations of plants, trees and shrubs before March 15 and after November 1. This allows plants the needed adjustment period before growing season begins or ends. We also have a Tree Memorial program in the park system. If you would like to donate trees, shrubs or flowers, please contact the Parks & Recreation Department at (215) 443-5428 or download the Memorial form.
POOPER SCOOPER ORDINANCE
In October 2000, the Board of Supervisors passed Ordinance #565 regulating animal defecation on public and private property and the disposal of animal feces. Pet waste left on the ground gets carried away by storm water contributing harmful bacterial parasites and viruses to our water. Pet owners are now required to clean up after their animals, not only in the parks, but on all public and private property in the Township, or face the possibility of a fine up to $1,000.