Stormwater runoff occurs when rain or snowmelt flows over the ground on its way to storm drains, drainageways, creeks, and lakes. Stormwater picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, pet wastes, and other pollutants and deposits them in water bodies we use for swimming, fishing, and drinking. Remember, runoff from a rain storm or snow melt is not treated at a wastewater treatment facility, so extra effort is needed by all of us !
SPLASH’s Four A’s of Stormwater Pollution Control:
Be Aware of your part in protecting the quality of stormwater runoff and why. There are a lot of resources and groups that are there to help get you started (click on "Resouces" button above for a few good resources).
Notice Activities that may Adversely affect drainageways, creeks, and lakes and report them! There are many prohibited discharges to our waterways, and if you encounter these in your neighborhood we would like to hear about it. A contact name and number for reporting spills and waste dumping (also known as an improper or illicit discharge) is available for each jurisdiction by clicking on the Home page and then the SPLASH members page. The general rule of thumb is that only rain during a storm event is allowed in our storm drain system. The State has allowed a few exceptions to the rule, like lawn watering, residential car wash rinse water, and sump pump discharges, but the list of exceptions is REAL short. So, anything else running down the street to the storm drain is probably a prohibited discharge and should be looked at. We can change adverse practices by education and outreach, and SPLASH wants you as a partner in your neighborhood!
Take Actionand change habits that can make a difference in our waterways. Start with SPLASH brochures to learn a little bit more. Then change a habit and we’re one step closer to protecting our water. Remember, stormwater runoff after a rain event is not treated at a wastewater treatment facility, so extra effort is needed by all of us! For more habit changing tips, read on!
Some of the educational activities we will be working on include "Getting the Paint", an effort at trying to increase the recycling of excess or leftover or old latex paints sitting in basements, attics and garages; a brochure for swimming pool owners and HOAs to help them look out for water quality when maintaining and shutting down seasonal pools; a brochure for small businesses that pressure wash their drive-thrus, parking lots, and dock/work areas; and a visual observation program to help citizens identify those improper discharges to our waterways and make us all active watershed stewards.
Other Stormwater Quality Management programs across the United States are our allies in our educational efforts. Below are a couple of examples of everday practices the WA Department of Ecology, King County, and the cities of Bellevue, Seattle, and Tacoma have humorously photographed. Maybe you can learn a little something about a couple of the routine habits we'd like to influence for the enhancement of water quality. In each picture, the point is that when you conduct a typical activity within the confines of your yard, driveway, or your neighborhood, these activities impact our waterways when it rains, because there is no treatment of storm runoff. It all just runs off to our creeks and rivers, and then to our reservoirs. Are there other typical household chores or activities that you can think of that may affect water quality? Let us know and we can get the word out....
Maybe automobile repair is your equivalent of a root canal, not something you ever want to do. Or other everyday factors get in the way and you can't get it scheduled. The problem is that leaking oil from a car that needs repair goes from the car to the driveway or to the streets. And is washed from these surfaces into the storm drains and into our waterways during a storm event. Now imagine the number of cars in the area and you can imagine the amount of oil that finds its way from leaky gaskets into our water. Yuk. Oily residue in our favorite reservoir. Not fun. Oh, and how about those blessed with the skills to do car repair at home in the driveway? Some of us wish we were that lucky to be do-it-your-selfers. But, the same care must be taken with the drips and overflows on the driveway. So please, fix oil leaks as soon as you can and use a DRYcleaning method (never a pressure wash spray that takes it into the gutter) to clean up those leftover oil spots. Because storm runoff isn't treated, we need to make a little extra effort. But it is worth it. Promise.
Its time to fertilize the lawn. Grab the bag and get to work. But hey, how much is really enough? One of the keys to water quality during lawn care is the amount of fertilizer to use to just feed the grass versus excess fertilizer that will leave your lawn during a storm event and make its way to our waterway. This excess fertilizer that travels down the curb and gutter to the storm drains causes algae to grow in our creeks and reservoirs, which uses up oxygen that fish need to survive. Another key is the type. How about a low phosphorous fertlizer once the root system is established. And those grass clippings you throw over the back fence into the drainageway also add nutrients that contribute to harmful algae blooms. So please use fertilizer sparingly, and never before a heavy rain is forecast. Your grass may need the nutrients, but our waterways do not!
Permittees: Southeast Metro Stormwater Authority (SEMSWA) including Centennial, Inverness WSD, and East Cherry Creek Valley WSD, Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority (ACWWA); Arapahoe County; Englewood; Littleton; Glendale; Greenwood Village; Cherry Hills Village; Columbine Valley; E-470 Authority; Goldsmith Metro District; Cherry Creek State Park and Colorado Department of Transportation.
SPLASH, 7437 S. Fairplay Street, Centennial, CO 80112