When it rains, impervious surfaces such as rooftops, driveways, parking lots and roads prevent water from being absorbed into the ground. Instead, this rainwater drains downhill and is known as stormwater runoff.
Unlike household wastewater, stormwater is not treated. That means the everyday pollutants and litter has a direct impact on our local water quality.
Why is Stormwater Management Important?
Stormwater runoff can erode soil and wash a wide variety of pollutants off the land, such as fertilizers and pesticides, soil and debris from lawns, oil, antifreeze, and metals from streets and parking lots, and litter. These pollutants are washed into our storm drains and can clog the system causing local flooding, and eventually empty into our waterways, causing pollution related closures, fish kills, and other negative impacts.
Because the waterways and aquatic resources around the City are deemed to have a significant economic and quality of life value, federal and state regulations require us to better manage the quality of the stormwater that is entering our creeks and streams, the Appomattox and James River, and the Chesapeake Bay. These regulations require much planning and educational effort to be effective, but the benefits include cleaner water and a healthier environment!
What is the City Doing to Reduce Stormwater Pollution?
The City of Hopewell is hard at work developing and implementing stormwater management programs that include construction of best management practices (BMPs), drainage system maintenance, enforcement of City Ordinances and public education. Some examples of what we are doing includes:
- Street sweeping – this helps remove litter and debris that would otherwise be washed into storm drains and into our waterways.
- Inspecting construction sites for erosion and sediment controls to decrease the amount of soil carried off site.
- Inspecting storm drains for illicit discharges.
- Educating our employees and the public about pollutants in stormwater runoff. This helps to determine the source of pollutants, which can help localities to better target future program efforts. Citizen input is very helpful in reporting illicit dumping into storm drains.
Many of these activities are required by the Clean Water Act and are written into the City’s Stormwater Permit.