Stormwater runoff is water from storms that flows over the ground and into our waterways. Prior to development, the majority of this runoff seeped into the ground and recharged our drinking water supplies. In areas that have been developed, stormwater runoff can cause flooding and can pick up pollutants that can make their way into out local streams and rivers if not properly managed.
New Castle County requires that new developments install stormwater management best management practices to control stormwater runoff. These best management practices filter runoff and help promote stormwater infiltration back into the ground. In order to work properly they must be suitably maintained to insure they are functioning as designed. That is why the County inspects them all on an annual basis and requires their owners to make any needed repairs. There are currently over 2,400 of these practices and that number grows each year. The County provides financial assistance with major repairs to registered residential maintenance corporations who perform routine minor maintenance.
What Can You Do?
Aside from keeping your community’s stormwater management facility in tip top condition, there are many other things you can do to keep our waters clean such as:
- Scooping the Poop – Dog waste is loaded with bacteria that can contaminate our waterways and make us sick. Bag your dogs waste and properly dispose of it in the trash. This includes picking up dog waste from your own back yard!
- Garden for Water and Wildlife – Excess fertilizers and other lawn chemicals can run off your property when it rains and sicken fish, wildlife and people. Do a soil test to see if more fertilizer is even needed in the first place. You can also plant native plants Native plants are heartier, more deeply rooted, and more suitable to our area. You should expect to see more desirable local insects, butterflies, and birds visiting your garden.
- Let Only Rain Down the Storm Drain- Storm drains are only designed to take rain water off our streets. Please remember that water that goes down these storm train is not treated. Any trash or contaminants left on the ground will be picked up and washed down the drain to our local waterways. Make sure to promptly clean up any vehicle fluid spills and keep fertilizers, grass clippings, and other pollutants off the sidewalk. You can also wash your car on the lawn and redirect downspouts onto the lawn or into a garden.
- Reduce Household Chemical Use – Read the label! What goes down the sewer drain can cause water pollution problems. Wastewater treatment plants remove some but not all pollutants. Household chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and cleaners may pass through to our waters. Look for greener products and make sure to dispose of your hazardous chemicals at one of DSWA’s collection events.
- Cease the Grease – Used cooking grease should never be poured down the drain. This grease will either congeal and cause expensive blockages of your home plumbing system or the County’s sewer system. These blockages can cause overflows of untreated sewage to the environment and our stormsewer system. It’s safer to collect used cooking grease into a can and throw it into the trash.