Ottawa River Coalition | Urban Stormwater
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Urban Stormwater

Stormwater Impacts Stream Health

Stormwater runoff is the water following rain or snow that flows off hard surfaces and cannot soak into the soil. Annual rain or snowfall for Allen County totals 36-40 inches. The average Lima property is covered nearly halfway with hard surfaces. Some examples of hard surfaces in our community include rooftops, driveways, patios, sidewalks, streets, and parking lots, whether paved or compacted gravel. This water drains from your property into the storm sewers, carrying contaminants along with it. Storm sewer discharge is not treated before it enters streams and rivers so it’s important that it be clean.

This is a well done and informative video called After the Storm, co-produced by the U.S. EPA and The Weather Channel. The show highlights three case studies—Santa Monica Bay, the Mississippi River Basin/Gulf of Mexico, and New York City—where polluted runoff threatens watersheds highly valued for recreation, commercial fisheries and navigation, and drinking water. Key scientists and water quality experts, and citizens involved in local and national watershed protection efforts provide insight into the problems as well as solutions to today’s water quality challenges. After the Storm also explains simple things people can do to protect their local watershed-such as picking up after one’s dog, recycling household hazardous wastes, and conserving water.

What if the water that fell on your roof ended up in your living room?

These illustrations give you an idea of the volumes of stormwater if the rain from your roof were channeled to your living room and not the storm drain system.

Here are some ways you can help keep stormwater clean:

Don’t drip

Prevent your car from leaving oil and other deposits on paved surfaces.  Check your car for leaks and recycle motor oil at your local automotive supply store.

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Keep storm drains clean

Storm drains or catch basins are sensitive pathways to local streams.  So it’s important to keep leaves, trash and pet waste from going down the drain.  Not only do you protect water quality, but you also keep these drain ways from plugging.

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Wash in the grass

Whether washing vehicles, hosing off driveways and sidewalks, or power washing building exteriors direct outdoor wash water onto grassy areas.

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Fertilize properly

Use fertilizers sparingly, preventing overspray onto hard surfaces.  Always follow product label directions.

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Compost

Turn your landscape waste into productive soil.  Compost your leaves, grass clippings and trimmings.

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30 Ways to Protect the Environment

Here are 30 quick tips to help protect our environment.

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