Why do we manage stormwater?
Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the federal government began programs to reduce pollution from entering our streams, rivers, and lakes. Stormwater, in the form of rainfall or snowmelt, shares responsibility for carrying pollution to these waterways, so its management has been delegated to local municipalities as part of the MS4 permit program. Some of the pollutants that need to be managed include:
• Sediment or soil
• Road salt
• Fertilizers (specifically nitrogen and phosphorus)
• Herbicides and pesticides
• Excessive heat
• Trash (plastic bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts, etc.)
While none of these pollutants should enter local streams, rivers, or lakes, each waterway can have its own list of pollutants that are of special interest within that waterway. These lists are known as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), or the total amount of identified pollutants that affect a waterway, and are monitored and updated by the Ohio EPA.
How can we limit the pollution that enters the Plum Creek?
There are features known as Stormwater Control Measures (SCMs) or Best Management Practices (BMPs) that can be installed on individual properties and throughout cities to improve stormwater management. Some SCMs can easily be used around residential homes. Other SCMs work better in larger areas.
CLICK HERE for technical information on SCMs
A type of bioretention area designed as a shallow depression in the ground to store runoff from impervious urban areas, like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas. Rain gardens often incorporate native plants.
For more information:
1) Master Rain Gardener Coursepack
2) Lorain County Master Rain Gardener Program
A container used to collect and store stormwater runoff. Typically house or garage gutters are diverted to fill a 55 gallon barrel, which is then used to water lawns or nearby gardens during a dry period. Cisterns are similar to rain barrels, and hold larger quantities of water.
For more information:
1) Rain Barrels Brochure (Lorain County)
2) Rain Barrels Brochure (Cuyahoga County)
Riparian Setback/Buffer Strips
A depressed area designed to store and filter runoff from impervious areas like parking lots and roofs. They can include specific soil media and plants to filter and/or treat stormwater, as well as drain pipes.
For mroe information:
1) Bioretention Guidance (Lake County)
2) Bioretention Gardens (Pennsylvania)
Dry Detention Basin
Wet Detention Basin
Resources for care and maintenance of SCMs may be found here:
Northeast Ohio Storm Water Training Council – “Maintaining Stormwater Control Measures: Guidance for Private Owners & Operators”
More information on SCMs may be found here:
Lorain County Storm Water Management – “Implementation Options for More Effective & Efficient Storm Water Control”
Ohio EPA – “Storm Water Technical Assistance” (Rainwater and Land Development Manual can be found here)
US EPA – “What is Green Infrastructure?”
Pennsylvania DEP – “Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual”
Lancaster County Clean Water Consortium – “Homeowner’s Guide: Best Management Practices Operations & Maintenance”
Credit Valley Conservation – “Low Impact Development Stormwater Management Planning and Design Guide”