Storm Water Pollution Prevention
Storm Water Background
Storm water from urban runoff is one of the leading causes of pollution
in creeks, rivers, and lakes. In fields and forests, most rain water is
absorbed by the soil and taken up by plants and trees. However, developed areas
contain impermeable surfaces like roofs, parking lots, and streets that cause
rainwater and snowmelt to runoff (storm water) and collect pollutants. Storm
water that flows from those impermeable surfaces and into storm drains or other conveyance structures without first flowing through best management practices (BMPs), such as grass lined swales or detention basins, goes untreated directly into our creeks, rivers, lakes, deltas and eventually, the ocean.
Storm water is a resource and is ultimately part of the hydrologic cycle, along with our potable water, so it is imperative to keep it as clean as possible. Storm water can become polluted by
pesticides, paint, fertilizers, pet waste, litter, oil and other automotive
fluids, eroded soil and household chemicals. Even small amounts of pollutants
that accumulate on roads, parking lots, and sidewalks can be transported into
nearby streams and rivers. Identifying sources of storm water pollution and
keeping this pollution away from storm drains and ditches is the best and most
economical way to keep storm water clean - which ultimately protects our vital water resources.
What El Dorado County Residents Can Do To Prevent Storm Water Pollution
Residents of El Dorado County can do their part to prevent and control storm water pollution. Here are some easy steps:
- Don't dump anything down storm drains. Chemicals such as paint, oil, and pesticides harm fish, wildlife, and people.
- Clean up pet waste and dispose of litter properly.
- Keep storm drains clear of debris, dirt, sand, silt, and wastes.
- Minimize the amount of ice-melt used.
- Prevent dripping and spilling automotive fluids. Used oil and filters, antifreeze, and other automotive fluids can be safely recycled at a local used oil collection center.
- Wash cars at a car wash facility rather than in a driveway.
- If pesticides and fertilizers are necessary for landscapes and lawn care, use natural products when possible and use sparingly.
- Minimize runoff by not over-watering your lawn or garden.
- Plant native vegetation.
- Stabilize areas that are prone to erosion with vegetation or rock.
- Learn about ways to capture and use rainwater onsite. Consider disconnecting your downspouts.
- Consider minimizing impervious surfaces around your home.
- Make sure storm drain outfalls are not running in dry weather.
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System (NPDES) Requirements
Storm water pollution is controlled
by the Clean Water Act (CWA) amendments of 1987. The amendments authorized the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency to expand the National Pollutant Discharge
Elimination System (NPDES) Program to cover storm water discharges (CWA Section 402). In California, under authority of the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act of 1969, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the nine Regional Boards beneath it, have the responsibility of managing NPDES Permits under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The NPDES Program is a permitting mechanism
that requires the implementation of controls designed to prevent harmful
pollutants from being washed by storm water runoff into local water
bodies. Ultimately, the SWRCB has complete authority over State water rights and water quality policy.
El Dorado County is covered under two SWRCB Regional Boards. The West Slope Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) NPDES Permit is administered by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) (Region Five). The Lake Tahoe Phase I MS4 NPDES Permit is administered by the Lahontan RWQCB (Region Six). The current West Slope MS4 NPDES Permit was adopted by the SWRCB on February 5, 2013. The Permit became effective on July 1, 2013 for a term of five years and focuses on the enhancement of surface water quality within high priority urbanized areas. The current Lake Tahoe MS4 NPDES Permit was adopted and took effect on December 6, 2011 for a term of five years. The Permit incorporated the Lake Tahoe Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and the Lake Clarity Crediting Program (LCCP) to account for the reduction of fine sediment particles and nutrients discharged to Lake Tahoe.
Construction Sites and Storm Water Pollution Information
Construction activities include clearing, grading, excavating, stockpiling, and re-constructing new or existing facilities. Construction activity does not include routine operations and maintenance.
When it rains or snows, storm water can carry pollutants from construction sites into storm drains, which convey untreated storm water directly to our creeks, rivers and lakes. Tracked mud and dirt at construction site access points and materials left uncovered, or improperly disposed of can get carried into storm drains.
Use care on construction sites to keep pollution contained at the source. Proper use, storage, and disposal of materials goes a long way toward preventing storm water pollution. It is critical to install BMPs to help minimize erosion and keep wastes on-site and away from storm drains leading to our waters.
Removing vegetation or disturbing the ground surface between October 15th and May 1st is prohibited in the Tahoe Basin, and for the rest of El Dorado County, additional requirements may apply.
Specific regulations extend to construction sites disturbing one acre or more of ground surface or to sites less than one acre in size if they are a part of a larger common development.
For additional information on construction in Lake Tahoe, visit: Lake Tahoe Construction General Permit
For additional information on construction on the West Slope, visit: State of California Construction General Permit (West Slope)
Western El Dorado County Storm Water Management Documents
Lake Tahoe Basin Storm Water Management Documents
To Learn More About Local, State, and Federal Permits, BMPs, and Erosion Control, Visit the Following Links:
Storm Water Construction Permit Information
TRPA BMP Resources
Minimum Construction Site Storm Water Management Practices (BMPs)
Erosion Control Specifications
Vegetation Establishment Guidelines for the Sierra Foothills and Mountains
CalTrans - Storm Water Management Program
California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA)
State Water Resources Control Board's Storm Water Films
EID's Report Running Water Waste Form
Best Management Practices (BMP) Databases
CA Water & Land Use Partnership LID Fact Sheet
State Water Board's Upcoming Trash Amendments
Mountain Democrat Storm Water Article dated 04-03-2015
questions or comments about the Storm Water Management Program or to report an illicit discharge into a waterbody contact:
El Dorado County Long Range Planning
2850 Fairlane Court
Placerville, CA 95667
(530) 573-7906 / email@example.com
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/EDCStormwater