What is Stormwater?
Human activity is largely responsible for the stormwater pollution. Everything that we put on the ground or into the storm drain can end up in our water. Each of us has a responsibility to make sure these contaminants stay out of our water. Whether we have clean water is up to you.The official definition of stormwater under the N.J.A.C. 7:14A rules is as follows:
’Stormwater’ means water resulting from precipitation (including rain and snow) that runs off the land’s surface, is transmitted to the subsurface, or is captured by separate storm sewers or other sewage or drainage facilities, or conveyed by snow removal equipment.
Why has Stormwater runoff become such a problem?
Urbanization and increasing commercial and residential development have a great impact on local water resources. More impervious surfaces (roads, rooftops, parking lots and other hard surfaces that do not allow stormwater to soak into the ground) increase the rate of stormwater runoff. This means a greater volume of water carrying pollution into surface waters and less water soaking into the ground. These contaminants include litter; cigarette butts and other debris from sidewalks; motor oil poured into storm sewers; settled air pollutants; pet wastes; yard wastes; and pesticides and fertilizers from lawn care. Less water soaking into the ground also lowers ground water levels, which can dry up streams and hurt stream ecosystems, and can reduce the supply of well water.
Stormwater also erodes stream banks. This in turn degrades habitat for plant and animal life that depend on clear water. Sediment in water clogs the gills of fish and blocks light needed for subsurface plants. The sediment can also fill in stream channels, lakes and reservoirs, covering the bottom and negatively affecting flow, plants and aquatic life.
How can I reduce runoff?
There are inexpensive ways to control excess runoff created by patios, driveways, sidewalks and roofs. Whatever the soil drainage condition in your neighborhood, landscaping and careful grading of your property’s surface area can be used to control runoff, reduce its speed and increase the time over which it is released.
Surface runoff can be decreased and ground water infiltration increased by following these suggestions:
- Install gravel trenches along driveways or patios to collect stormwater and filter it into the soil.
- Plant sod on bare patches in your lawn as soon as possible to avoid erosion.
- Grade all areas away from your house at a gentle slope.
- Plant shrubs and trees to promote infiltration.
- If you are building a new home or in a position to consider regrading your property, reach out to the Township Engineer to ensure proper run off.
For more information and questions on stormwater program please contact the Township Engineer, RIchard O’Connor in the Construction Office at 732-428-8401