Drive through some of the area’s subdivisions and developments. What appears to be a pond, basin, or ditch may be an engineered stormwater structure designed to control flooding and keep pollutants out of our creeks and rivers.
Routine tasks we don’t think twice about generate those pollutants. What happens to the fertilizer washed out of your yard after a heavy rain? What happens to the detergent flowing down the driveway when you wash your car? Do you own a dog or two? What goes in must come out, and we all prefer it to come out in the yard and not the house. But what happens to it after it rains? All this stuff runs into storm drains that empty directly into creeks or rivers without benefit of any treatment.
There are simple practices you can adopt to reduce pollutant runoff. Minimizing the use of fertilizer, picking up Fido’s poop, and washing your car at a commercial car wash or on the lawn are just a few.
But be aware there are things you must do, as per city or county requirements contained in maintenance agreements or commercial permits. It is often the responsibility of the homeowners association or even an individual homeowner to inspect and maintain stormwater structures and keep records for verification. The need for inspection and maintenance is clear. As you drive through your subdivision note the condition of the stormwater structures. (These are called BMPs in stormwater lingo – best management practices.)There’s a good chance you’ll find structures that haven’t been maintained. Eroded banks, clogged trash racks, algae, cracked outlet structures, lack of vegetation and a multitude of other problems keep these structures from doing their job –preventing downstream flooding and keeping our water clean.
Know your responsibilities. Read your maintenance agreement and abide by the requirements. What are you doing to limit your liability and help keep our water clean?
One more thing – we’re going to end each blog with a riddle. (Kristin used to be a chemistry teacher and started each class with one.) The answer can be found on one of our website pages. Here’s the first one…..”What does the last mole in the mole day parade see?” Hint: The answer is one word.