How to Manage and Control Storm Water Runoff - PDF by ugc19505


Environmental Risk Assessment Guide — Fact Sheet 2                                 

                    How to Manage and
                 Control Storm Water Runoff
          This fact sheet examines                                                   Why should you
      potential risks to the environment
      and your health from storm water                                               be concerned?
      runoff. Two areas are covered:                                                      Polluted storm water degrades
          Part 1. Reducing pollutants in                                             our lakes, wetlands and rivers.
      runoff. Pollutants can include                                                 Soil clouds water and degrades
      pesticides and chemicals, automo-                                              habitat for fish and water plants.
      tive wastes, grass clippings and                                               Nutrients such as phosphorus and
      yard waste, pet and animal                                                     nitrogen promote the growth of
      manure, and winter salt and de-                                                algae, which crowds out other
      icers.                                                                         aquatic life. Toxic chemicals, such
          Part 2. Landscaping and site                                               as antifreeze and oil from leaking
      management to control runoff.                                                  cars, carelessly applied pesticides,
      Some ways to help control runoff                                               and zinc from galvanized metal
      are preventing soil erosion, pro-                                              gutters and downspouts, threaten
      viding basement flood protection,                                              the health of fish and other aquat-
      landscaping, providing proper                                                  ic life. Bacteria and parasites from
      roof drainage, and minimizing                                                  pet manure can make nearby
      paved surfaces.                                                                lakes and bays unsafe for wading
          Completing this fact sheet will                                            and swimming after storms.
      help you evaluate how storm                                                         As many people have discov-
      water affects the environmental                                                ered, storm water can be a prob-
      quality of your property and                  You don’t need a heavy rain-     lem closer to home. It can flow
      properties downstream. You will           storm to send pollutants rushing     into basements and cause damage
      also learn ways to reduce pollu-          toward streams, wetlands, lakes      that is difficult and costly to clean
      tion risks.                               and oceans. A garden hose alone      up. Storm water can also flow
                                                can supply enough water.             down a poorly sealed well shaft
                                                    Even if your house is not on a   and contaminate drinking water.
                                                waterfront, storm drains and sew-    In areas with very porous soils or
      What is storm water?                      ers efficiently convey runoff from   geology, pollutants in runoff may
          Storm water is water from rain        your neighborhood to the nearest     reach groundwater.
      or melting snow that does not             body of water. Contrary to popu-          Public officials are focusing
      soak into the ground. It flows            lar belief, most storm sewers do     pollution control efforts on storm
      from rooftops, over paved areas           not carry storm water to waste-      water management in urban and
      and bare soil, and through sloped         water treatment plants (see figure   rural areas. Storm water pollution
      lawns. As it flows, this runoff col-      2.1 on page 2). Storm and sanitary   cannot be treated in the same way
      lects and transports soil, pet            sewers may be combined in some       as water pollution from discharge
      manure, salt, pesticides, fertilizer,     older communities.                   pipes, because it comes from
      oil and grease, leaves, litter and                                             many sources (see table on page 2).
      other potential pollutants.                                                         It is carried by storm water
                                                                                     from every street, parking lot,
                                                                                     sidewalk, driveway, yard and gar-
                                                                                     den. The problem can only be
                                                                                     solved with everyone’s help.

      Published by MU Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia                                    Fact Sheet 2 EQM102
                                                                         Figure 2.1. Runoff that flows into
                                                                         storm sewers goes directly to
                                                                         streams and lakes without treatment.

Storm Water: Part 1                    Common sources of storm water pollutants

Reducing pollutants in runoff          POLLUTANT               COMMON SOURCES
    Storm water is unavoidable,        Silt, sand, and clay    Construction sites; bare spots in lawns and gardens;
but its effects can be reduced by      particles and other     wastewater from washing cars and trucks on drive-
keeping harmful chemicals and          debris.                 ways or parking lots; unprotected stream banks.
materials out of runoff. This sec-     Nutrients               Over-used or spilled fertilizers; pet manure; grass
tion reviews potential sources of                              clippings and leaves left on streets and sidewalks;
contamination and offers ways to                               leaves burned in ditches.
minimize them.                         Disease organisms       Pet manure and garbage.
    When you finish reading this       Hydrocarbons            Car and truck exhaust; leaks and spills of oil and
section, fill out the work sheet to                            gas; burning leaves and garbage.
help identify storm water risks on     Pesticides              Pesticides over-applied or applied before a rain-
your property.                                                 storm; spills and leaks.
                                       Metals                  Cars and trucks (brakes and tire wear, exhaust);
                                                               galvanized metal gutters and downspouts.
Where does storm water go?
    The next time you are home
during a rain shower, head out-       water soak into the ground quick-       open water. Note whether runoff
doors with your boots and             ly, or does it puddle in places and     flows onto your land from adja-
umbrella and watch where the          flow off lawns and driveways?           cent streets, lands or storm water
rainwater goes.                       Your soil type affects water infil-     systems. If you live at or near the
    On a sketch of your property,     tration (soaking into the ground).      bottom of a hill, you may have
draw arrows showing the direc-        As you might expect, water infil-       special problems. Be sure to go
tion that storm water flows off       trates sandy soil quickly but has a     out during more than one rain
driveways, rooftops, sidewalks,       hard time seeping into fine-            shower to get a good understand-
and yards. A sample map is pro-       grained silt or clay soils.             ing of runoff flow during small
vided in figure 2.2. (Instructions        During your walk, note how          and large storms.
for making a homesite sketch can      far it is to the nearest storm sewer,
be found in Fact Sheet 1.) Does       ditch, wetland, stream or body of

2                                                                                                          EQM102
Are any car or truck wastes being                                                   Read all pesticide labels care-
carried away by storm water?                                                    fully for application instructions
    Oil stains on your driveway                                                 and restrictions.
and outdoor spills of antifreeze,                                                   See Fact Sheet 5, “Yard and
brake fluid, and other automo-                                                  Garden Care,” for more informa-
tive fluids are easily carried away                                             tion on the proper use and han-
by a rainstorm. An oily sheen on                                                dling of yard and garden prod-
runoff from your driveway is a                                                  ucts.
sure sign that you need to be
more careful.
    Use pans, carpet scraps or                                                  Do you use road salt or
matting to catch drips. Routine                                                 other de-icing products?
maintenance can prevent your                                                        Road salt and de-icers even-
car from leaking and help identi-                                               tually wash off paved surfaces
fy potential leaks. If you change                                               and end up in the soil or water.
your own oil, be careful to avoid                                               From your driveway or side-
spills and collect waste oil for                                                walk, salt can readily flow to
recycling.                                                                      storm drains and into streams
    Oily car parts and fluid con-                                               and lakes.
tainers should be stored where          Figure 2.2. Map showing direction           Salt in high concentrations is
rain and runoff cannot reach            of surface runoff and stream flow.      harmful to wildlife and plants.
them. Never dump used oil,                                                      Use less to keep these chemicals
antifreeze, or gasoline down a              Keeping such products in            out of natural systems. If you
storm drain, in a ditch, or on the      waterproof containers and storing       use too much, clean up the
ground. These wastes will end up        them up high and out of the             excess. Consider sand or regular
in a nearby lake or stream, or they     potential path of runoff or floods is   kitty litter as less toxic alterna-
may pollute your drinking water.        important. You can avoid storage        tives. Chipping ice off pave-
    Washing your car in the dri-        problems by buying only what            ments is an even better choice,
veway creates runoff without the        you need for a particular task and      although care must be taken not
help of a rainstorm — your hose         then using up the product.              to damage the pavement surface.
provides the water. The dirty,              Prevent freezing of liquid prod-
soapy runoff drains directly into       ucts. Most pesticides, and some
storm sewers, picking up oil and        fertilizers, are liquid and may be      How is animal manure kept from
other pollutants as it goes. Try        subject to freezing. This may burst     becoming a pollution problem?
washing your car on the lawn or,        containers or render the product            Droppings from dogs and cats
better yet, take it to a commercial     unusable.                               and from other commonly kept
car wash or spray booth that                                                    animals like exotic birds, rabbits,
sends its dirty water to a waste-                                               goats and chickens can be trou-
water treatment plant.                  Do you use and handle                   blesome in two ways. First,
                                        chemicals safely?                       manures contain nutrients that
                                            Safe storage is only the first      can promote the growth of algae
Are household products stored           step in preventing contaminated         if they enter streams and lakes.
outside the reach of storm water?       runoff. When mixing chemicals,          Second, animal droppings are a
    Most households store lawn          try to do it within a washtub so        source of disease.
and garden products like weed           spills will be contained. If you            The risk of storm water conta-
killers, insect killers and fertiliz-   spill chemicals, act quickly to         mination increases if pet manures
ers. If storm water or floodwater       contain and clean up the spill.         are allowed to accumulate in ani-
reaches these products, it can          This is particularly important on       mal pen areas or if they are left
transport them into surface water       paved surfaces.                         on sidewalks, streets or drive-
and possibly your well.                     Using more pesticides or fertil-    ways where runoff can carry
    Pool chemicals, salt for water      izers than you need invites prob-       them to storm sewers.
softeners, and a wide variety of        lems. Timing of applications is also        Droppings that are not mixed
other chemical products can also        important. Do not apply pesticides      with litter or other materials
cause trouble if they are washed        and chemicals if rain is expected       should be flushed down the toi-
away.                                   within twenty-four hours.               let. Or, if local laws allow it,

EQM102                                                                                                           3
    Figure 2.4. Roof drainage should be                                          Are there areas of bare
    directed to the lawn or a flower bed                                         soil around your home?
    and away from the foundation and                                                 Areas of bare soil often exist in
    paved surfaces.                                                              vegetable and flower gardens, on
                                                                                 newly seeded lawns, and around
                                                                                 construction projects. Even on
                                                                                 gentle slopes, water from rain and
                                                                                 snow can remove large amounts
                                                                                 of soil and carry it to wetlands,
                                                                                 rivers and lakes.
                                                                                     Planting grass or other ground
                                                                                 covers is the best way to stop ero-
                                                                                 sion. Putting a straw or chip
                                                                                 mulch over gardens or newly
                                                                                 seeded areas will slow erosion.
                                                                                 Straw bales, diversion ditches and
                                                                                 commercially available silt fences
                                                                                 around construction sites can help
                                                                                 slow runoff and trap sediment on-
                                                                                 site. If you are working with a
droppings may either be buried                 Avoiding the problem is easy      contractor, insist that precautions
or wrapped and put in the                  — sweep clippings back onto the       are taken to control runoff and
garbage for disposal.                      grass, and compost leaves and         erosion during construction.
                                           garden wastes on your property
                                           to recycle nutrients.
Are yard and garden wastes                                                       Can you eliminate paved surfaces
kept out of storm water?                                                         or install alternatives?
    If left on sidewalks, drive-           Assessment 1:                             Concrete and asphalt roads,
ways, or roads, grass clippings            Reducing pollutants in runoff         driveways and walkways prevent
and other yard wastes will wash                Use Assessment 1 in the           rainwater from soaking into the
away with the next storm (see fig-         accompanying work sheet to rate       ground. When you have the
ure 2.1, page 2).                          your storm water pollution risks.     choice, consider alternative mate-
    Although leaves and other              For each question, indicate your      rials such as gravel or wood chips
plant debris accumulate naturally          risk level in the right-hand col-     for walkways.
in streams and lakes, homeowners           umn. Some choices may not corre-          Avoid paving areas such as
can contribute excess amounts of           spond exactly to your situation.      patios. Where you need a more
plant matter, especially in areas          Choose the response that best fits.   solid surface, consider using a
with many homes. This can lead             Refer to the sections above if you    “porous pavement” made from
to water that is unattractive or           need more information.                interlocking cement blocks or rub-
green with algae and unsuitable                                                  ber mats that allow spaces for
for recreation.                                                                  rainwater to seep into the ground.
    Burning yard waste is not an                                                 If you must pour concrete, keep
environmentally friendly alterna-          Storm Water: Part 2                   the paved area as short and nar-
tive, and it’s illegal in some areas.      Landscaping and site management       row as possible.
Hydrocarbons and nutrients                 to control storm water runoff
released by burning leaves con-                Some storm water risks can be
tribute to water pollution as well         controlled by making changes to       Is your basement protected from
as air pollution.                          buildings, paved surfaces, the        storm water seepage or flooding?
    Rain washes smoke particles            landscape and soil surfaces. This         Storm water in your basement
out of the air, and runoff picks up        section reviews some easily           can be a hazard in two ways: first,
dust and ashes left on pavement            addressed problems as well as         if water carries contaminants or
or in ditches.                             major landscape alterations you       disease organisms into your
                                           might want to consider.               home, and second, if water picks
                                                                                 up chemicals stored in your base-
                                                                                 ment and carries them into the

4                                                                                                           EQM102
 Figure 2.5. To help prevent erosion, leave an unmowed buffer strip
 of thick vegetation along stream banks and lakeshores.

sewer or ground. Basement win-          Can you change your landscape’s         Assessment 2: Landscaping and
dows or doors are common storm          layout to reduce runoff?                site management to
water entry points and should be            An essential part of storm          control storm water runoff
sealed against leaks.                   water management is keeping                 For each question in assess-
    It is best if window and door       water from leaving your property,       ment 2 on the work sheet, indicate
sills are at least a foot above         or at least slowing its flow as much    your risk level in the right-hand
ground level. If windows are at or      as possible. Many home lawns are        column. Select the answer that
below ground level, they can be         sloped to encourage water to run        best matches your situation. Refer
protected with clear plastic covers     off onto neighboring property or        to part 2 above if you need more
available in building supply            streets. Instead, you could provide     information to complete the table.
stores. Window wells that extend        low areas landscaped with shrubs
above ground level can help             and flowers to encourage water to
divert storm water. Your yard           soak into the ground. If your yard
should be sloped away from the          is hilly, you can terrace slopes to     For more information
foundation to prevent water from        slow the flow of runoff and make           Contact your local University
pooling near the house and leak-        mowing and gardening easier.            Outreach and Extension center,
ing into the basement.                      If you have a large lot, consid-    the Missouri Department of
                                        er “naturalizing” areas with            Natural Resources Technical
                                        prairie, woodland or wetland            Assistance Program, or Natural
Does roof water flow                    plants. If your property adjoins a      Resource Conservation Service
onto pavement or grass?                 lake or stream, one of the best         Urban Conservationist for infor-
    Your house roof, like pave-         ways to slow and filter runoff is       mation on landscaping, nonpoint
ment, sheds water. If downspouts        to leave a buffer strip of thick veg-   source pollution, and storm water
from roof gutters empty onto            etation along the waterfront (see       management techniques.
grassy areas, the water will have a     figure 2.5, above).
chance to soak into the ground.             Good sources for ideas are
Aim downspouts away from                your local University Outreach
foundations and paved surfaces          and Extension center, Natural           Resources and
(see figure 2.4 on page 4). For roofs   Resources Conservation Service,         publications
without gutters, plant grass,           or Soil and Water Conservation              Bay Book: A Guide to Reducing
spread mulch, or use gravel under       District offices.                       Water Pollution at Home (1993).
the drip line to prevent soil ero-                                              Available from the Chesapeake
sion and increase the ground’s                                                  Regional Information Service
capacity to absorb water.                                                       (CRIS), a project of the Alliance
Consider using cisterns or rain                                                 for the Chesapeake Bay, 6600 York
barrels to catch rainwater for                                                  Road, Baltimore, MD 21212; (800)
watering lawns and gardens in                                                   662-2747.
dry weather.

EQM102                                                                                                         5
 How to order the Home•A•Syst Environmental Risk Assessment Guides:
                                                                                                                                Publications are available by mail from
 (EQM101 through EQM105 include a fact sheet and work sheet.)
                                                                                                                                Extension Publications, University of
 An Introduction to Assessing the Environmental Safety of                                                                       Missouri, 2800 Maguire Blvd., Columbia,
     Your Home ($.75) .......................................................................................EQM100             MO 65211. Please refer to the appropriate
                                                                                                                                EQM number for each publication.
 Site Assessment: Protecting Water Quality
     Around Your Home ($1.25)......................................................................EQM101                       Enclose your check made payable to
                                                                                                                                University of Missouri for the cost of
 How to Manage and Control Storm Water Runoff ($1.25) ......................EQM102                                              publications plus handling. Handling is $1.50
                                                                                                                                for orders that total less that $5.00, and $2.50
 Drinking Water Well Management ($1.50) .................................................EQM103                                 for orders that total from $5.00 to $9.99.

 Household Wastewater: Septic Systems and Other                                                                                 For larger orders, including quantity dis-
     Treatment Methods ($2.00) ......................................................................EQM104                     counts, please call the number below. Missouri
                                                                                                                                residents must add 7.225% sales tax.
 Yard and Garden Care: How it Affects Your
     Health and Environment ($1.00) ............................................................EQM105                          To order by phone, call (573) 882-7216 or toll-
                                                                                                                                free 1-800-292-0969.
 Home•A•Syst Risk Assessment Guide ($4.00).........................................EQM106
     (Includes the introduction and all five fact sheets and work sheets)                                                       The complete Home•A•Syst series is available
                                                                                                                                on the web at:

    From University of Missouri                              s Storm Sewers: The Rivers                                         Pollution prevention at home
 Extension Publications, 2800                                   Beneath Our Feet (GWQ004)                                       helps ensure your safety
 McGuire Blvd, Columbia, MO                                  s Cleaning Up Storm Water                                              For more information about
 65211; phone: 573/882-7216; see                                Runoff (GWQ016)                                                 topics covered in the Missouri
 WM 6011: Storm Drains and                                   s Beneficial Landscape Practices                                   Home•A•Syst series, or for infor-
 Water Quality; http://muexten-                                 (GWQ008)                                                        mation about laws and regula-                              s Car Care for Cleaner Water                                       tions specific to your area, contact
 man/wm6011.htm                                                 (GWQ019)                                                        your nearest University Outreach
                                                             s Lawn and Garden Fertilizers                                      and Extension center.
     The following publications                                 (GWQ002)
 relating to storm water runoff are                          s Shoreline Plants and                                                Contact the Missouri
 available from the University of                               Landscaping (GWQ014)                                            Farm•A•Syst/Home•A•Syst
 Wisconsin Extension Publications,                           s Lawn and Garden Pesticides                                       Program at: 205 Agricultural
 Room 170, 630 West Mifflin Street,                             (GWQ011)                                                        Engineering Building, University
 Madison, WI 53703-2636; (608)                               s Lawn Watering (GWQ012)                                           of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia,
 262-3346.                                                   s Pet Waste and Water Quality                                      MO 65211; phone 573-882-0085.
     Up to five copies are free; call                           (GWQ006)
 for price information if you want                           s Practical Tips for Home and
 more than five copies.                                         Yard (GWQ007)

 This guide was prepared by Steve Mellis and Don Schuster, based on the Home•A•Syst chapter written by Carl DuPoldt,
 Environmental Engineer, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Somerset, New Jersey and Carolyn Johnson, Water
 Quality Education Specialist, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension, Milwaukee.

 The Missouri Home•A•Syst series was produced with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture and was
 adapted for use in Missouri from the National Farm•A•Syst/Home•A•Syst Program in Cooperation with the Northeast
 Regional Agricultural Engineering Services (NRAES).
                                                s Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension Work Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department
           OUTREACH & EXTENSION                 of Agriculture. Ronald J. Turner, Director, Cooperative Extension, University of Missouri and Lincoln University, Columbia, MO 65211.
                                                s University Outreach and Extension does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability or status
           COLUMBIA                             as a Vietnam era veteran in employment or programs. s If you have special needs as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act and
                                                need this publication in an alternative format, write ADA Officer, Extension and Agricultural Information, 1-98 Agriculture Building, Columbia,
                                                MO 65211, or call (573) 882-7216. Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate your special needs.

$1.25                                                                      Fact Sheet 2 EQM102                                                                        New 4/01/3M

To top