Tips & Tricks
- Erosion & Sedimentation
- Green Infrastructure
- Hazards with Improper Waste Disposal
- Salt Usage & Storage
- Storm Sewers Versus Sanitary Sewers
Stormwater runoff causes erosion of waterways such as creeks and ditches, resulting in sedimentation (the deposition of eroded sediment) into waterways, water bodies such as lakes and ponds, and storm sewer systems. Sedimentation of our streams and lakes destroys aquatic life and is considered a stormwater pollutant. Erosion can be reduced by slowing down stormwater runoff. The slower the rate of water runoff, the less erosion and sedimentation that will occur.
Ground disturbance such as construction sites are typical sources for erosion since the ground within the site is usually torn up. Properly installed silt fence, grass and another ground cover, and other types of practices help to slow down the rate of runoff. Minimizing the amounts of ground disturbance, planting vegetation as soon as construction is complete, and installing mulches are always good practices to help prevent erosion.
A set of techniques collectively referred to as "green infrastructure" attempts to utilize, enhance, and/or mimic the natural processes of infiltration, evapotranspiration (the process of transferring moisture from the Earth to the atmosphere through the evaporation of water from rivers, lakes, oceans and plants), while re-using as much water as possible to prevent runoff.
It may be tempting to get rid of unwanted wastes such as used oil or paint or any other waste by dumping them into a storm drainage system. But the improper disposal of waste can be hazardous to the environment and pollute our local water bodies.
Such wastes that enter a City storm drainage system are considered "illicit discharges", are illegal, and are subject to enforcement actions that may consist of administrative penalties or orders, civil penalties, assessments, or other legal actions. If you're unsure how to properly dispose of waste, please call the Sanitation Department at 330-489-3020 for more information.
Unfortunately, the climate we live in forces us to use de-icing agents in the winter such as salt to put on our roads, driveways, and sidewalks for safe travel. Once that salt melts snow and ice, it mixes with the resulting water and makes its way downhill to pollute our streams and other water bodies.
Only the minimum amounts of salt necessary should be used. Storing de-icing salt outside and unprotected causes problems too. It absorbs moisture which causes the salt to lump. The lumps freeze in the winter and make the salt difficult to use in salt spreaders. Salt that is stored outside should be kept under roof (or at least under a tarp) and away from the path of stormwater runoff and melting snow and ice.
Spills can pollute and harm the environment. If not properly cleaned up, these materials may wind up in storm sewers which ultimately discharge directly to streams, lakes, and other water bodies. Material spills that can harm the environment are:
- Other household products
What To Do
Always read and follow the manufacturer's recommendations and warnings before using any products. Know where spills are likely to occur, such as in garages where fuel may be stored. Keep absorbent materials on hand to absorb spills and contain the spill. Quickly block any nearby storm drains to prevent spills from entering. Notify proper authorities such as the Fire Department of any hazardous spills.
Storm sewers are meant to carry "clean" and unpolluted stormwater runoff only. They are typically designed to flow by gravity and discharge directly to streams, lakes, and other water bodies without providing any kind of treatment to the stormwater runoff whatsoever. Storm sewers are located wherever there are catch basins or stormwater inlets which are structures often found along the road or in parking lots used to collect stormwater runoff through a steel grate at the ground surface.
Sanitary sewers, on the other hand, are meant to carry "dirty" water and other non-storm water discharges from toilets, sinks, showers, washing machines, dishwashers, and other similar sources. They transport the dirty flows to wastewater treatment plants where the discharges are treated and the pollutants are removed before the remaining clean water is released into the environment. Sanitary sewers do not have catch basins or stormwater inlets. They are meant to be "closed off" from stormwater.
Dumping of Waste & Oils
Never dump waste, oils, or other unwanted materials into a catch basin or stormwater inlet. It does not connect to the sanitary sewer and get treated! It only gets transported through the storm sewer directly to the fish waiting in the creek at the outlet of the sewer, causing pollution and degradation to aquatic life. That is why many storm drain inlets contain a "Do not dump - drains to stream!" message.