What is Storm Water?
Storm water runoff is part of the natural hydrologic process. It occurs when rainwater that does not infiltrate into the ground flows into water bodies such as creeks, lakes, streams, or rivers. In undeveloped areas, storm water runoff often passes through naturally vegetated areas, which slows down the water and filters out pollutants and sediment. However, natural vegetation and topography have frequently been altered in urban settings. This prevents storm water from naturally soaking into the ground. Pollutants can be washed into storm drains and waterways.
Pollutants in storm water runoff can include:
- Heavy metals
- Petroleum hydrocarbons
- Synthetic organics such as pesticides
- Trash and debris
Once pollutants reach water bodies, they can harm aquatic life, damage ecosystems, and even end up in water used for drinking or recreation. Protecting our water bodies from all sources of contamination can be accomplished through the cooperation of citizens, government, and businesses.
The City of Bucyrus has been designated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) as a small municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) and is required to comply with a state-issued storm water permit.
An MS4 is a system of conveyances owned by a public entity that discharges to waters of the United States and is designed or used for collecting or conveying storm water.
Bucyrus is implementing a program to prevent storm water pollution and improve the water quality of local water bodies. As part of the MS4 Program, Bucyrus adopted illicit discharge and construction storm water ordinances to protect storm water. Only rainwater, snowmelt, and other allowable discharges free of pollutants should enter storm drains or surface waters. The ordinances prohibit illicit connections, illegal discharges to the storm sewer, and illegal dumping. The ordinances also regulate storm water, construction, and post-construction practices.
What is an Illicit Discharge?
An illicit discharge is an unlawful act of disposing of, dumping, spilling, emitting, or other discharging any substance other than storm water into the storm water drainage system. The storm water drainage system includes streets, ditches, catch basins, yard inlets, and streams.
Illicit discharges cause water pollution by sending pollutants directly into creeks, streams, ponds, and lakes. Illicit discharges can be reported by calling the City of Bucyrus at 419-562-6767or send report form to email@example.com.
What can you do to prevent storm water pollution?
- Clean up your property. Properly dispose of outdated or unused household chemicals stored in your basement, garage, or barn by taking them to the Crawford County Solid Waste Management District during their household hazardous waste disposal events. Do not store these materials outdoors.
- Recycle used oil, automotive fluids, batteries, and other products. Do not dispose of hazardous products in storm drains, alleys, or the ground.
- Reduce the number of fertilizers, pesticides, or other hazardous chemicals that you use. Buy only what you need so that you do not have to dispose of leftovers. Read all the labels and follow directions.
- Sweep up debris, rather than hosing down areas.
- Clean up after your pet and dispose of pet waste properly. When left outdoors, pet waste contributes bacteria and excessive nutrients to storm water.
- Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on an unpaved surface to reduce the amount of dirty, soapy water entering storm drains and waterways.
- Prevent debris from entering nearby storm drains when conducting outdoor home improvement or landscaping projects.
- If you have a septic system, have it serviced regularly. Make sure it is not connected to the storm sewer or polluting a creek or body of water
- Drain your swimming pool only when a test kit shows non-detectable levels of chlorine.
- If you spill chemicals, oil, or fuel, clean it up with absorbent materials (for example kitty litter). Do not let it soak into the ground. Dispose of used absorbent properly.