The City of New Albany’s Stormwater Program focuses on flood control, drainage management and benefiting the environment. Stormwater matters effect everybody in New Albany.
The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a program to reduce the amount of pollution carried off by rainfall and stormwater runoff.This program requires communities to develop a comprehensive stormwater quality management plan for preventing pollution of local waterways by stormwater runoff.
New Albany is responding to the new EPA regulations. New Albany’s plan takes advantage of many activities the city already has in place, but some new activities will be required. The city has also reviewed ways to fund the added expense of this program, as well as on going stormwater system maintenance costs to meet community drainage, flood prevention, and water quality needs.
What is a Watershed?
We all live in a watershed — the area that drains to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland, or ultimately the ocean — and our individual actions directly affect it. Watersheds come in many shapes and sizes. They cross county, state, and national boundaries. No matter where you are, you’re in a watershed.
What is “Stormwater Runoff”?
Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or melting snow flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, streets and rooftops prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground. In a growing city like New Albany, problems arise when impervious areas not only prevent the water from being absorbed, but help it run off at a much faster rate. Stormwater can accumulate, causing nuisance flooding and possible threats to public health and safety. To help manage this, the storm drainage system carries stormwater away from homes and businesses.
Flooding is only a part of the problem. As the rain runs over our streets and yards, it washes pollutants such as gasoline, oil, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers away. This polluted runoff travels through the storm drainage system via channels and pipes and ends up, untreated, in our waterways. With the passage of time, these pollutants build up, damaging our streams, rivers, and lakes.
What is Stormwater Pollution?
As rainwater and snow falls onto rooftops, lawns, and down driveways and streets, the stormwater runoff picks up pollutants and debris. This can include such things as:
- Sediment (dirt)
- Motor Oil
- Heavy Metals (lead, copper, zinc, cadmium)
- Leaves and Grass Clippings
- Pet Waste
Why is This a Concern?
Stormwater pollution can make monitoring and treatment of our drinking water more difficult and costly. In addition, it can hinder the aquatic ecosystem and result in the loss of our rivers, lakes and streams for swimming, fishing and other recreational activities. The pollutants stop or reduce environmental quality of our water resources. The goal of this national program is to provide fishable and swimable waterways.
Water running off your yard, sidewalk or street flows down gutters to curbside openings called catch basins. From there, this urban runoff flows into the storm drain system, a vast underground network of pipes and tunnels. Anything carried by this runoff is led into our waterways (creeks, streams, lakes and rivers) where it can harm fish, frogs, other aquatic plants and animals…and us!
A common misconception is that water that runs off streets and parking lots into a storm drain goes directly to a wastewater treatment plant. IT DOES NOT. In fact, stormwater usually receives no treatment!
What is the difference between sewers and storm drainage?
In New Albany, sanitary sewer collection and storm drainage are separate systems.
What is NPDES MS4?
NPDES is an acronym for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. MS4 is an acronym for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System. The Federal and State environmental regulation program is aimed at reducing the amount of pollution carried off by rainfall and stormwater runoff. This program will reduce the amount of pollutants in our waterways by helping to keep them clean through education, awareness, and new regulations for illegal dumping, construction oversight, and new development requirements.