WHAT IS STORMWATER?
Stormwater is exactly what it sounds like. It is the rain or snow that falls during a storm. What most people don’t realize is that in the journey from the sky to the ground to streams or the river, stormwater runoff picks up various chemicals and pollutants that can contaminate our waterways.
On October 18, 1972, the Federal Clean Water Act was established “… to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” This act ensures that residents can be confident that their local communities are working diligently to protect the waters in their area. As part of the Clean Water Act, communities are required to meet certain guidelines for the proper management of stormwater.
WHY MANAGE STORMWATER?
Non-point source pollution is created when pollutants from across the watershed are carried by stormwater into streams, lakes and rivers. For example, the oil and gas that drip from our cars, trash thrown out of the window and even pet waste deposited along the street is eventually is washed by stormwater into local waterways. This is one example of non-point source pollution.
WHAT’S A MUNICIPAL SEPARATE SEWER SYSTEM (MS4)?
MS4 is a “Municipal Separate Sewer System.” MS4s are generally defined by the federal rules as a means of collecting or conveying runoff that do not connect with a wastewater collection system or treatment plant. This includes ditches, streets, curbs, gutters and storm sewers. MS4s flow directly to natural waterways.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established the MS4 Permit System to address non-point source pollution. The MS4 stormwater discharge permit establishes guidelines for local governments to minimize pollutants in stormwater runoff to the “maximum extent practicable.”
RESOURCES AND REFERENCES
Ottumwa Municipal Code
Chapter 31 3/4 STORMWATER
Article I. Discharge and Connection to the Storm Sewer System
Article II. Filling, Grading, Erosion and Sediment Control
Article III. Post Construction Stormwater Management
Brochures and Leaflets
The City is working to educate the public about many of the issues relating to stormwater and how they can help in keeping our waters clean. Below are links to a leaflet and brochure that were mailed out to all sewer customers in Ottumwa. These materials are available for the public at the City Engineering office at City Hall.
Iowa Storm Water Education Program
The Iowa Storm Water Education Program was created in 2004 to address the educational needs of cities and others impacted by federal stormwater regulations. The City of Ottumwa is a member along with over 30 other municipalities.