Proper stormwater management is crucial for the health of waterways all over the country. It is important that storm drains only be used for their intended purpose—to carry stormwater runoff to the natural waterways to allow the water cycle to continue.
Of course, there are some potential hazards to a healthy water cycle, including the runoff picking up hazardous materials and people performing illegal storm drain dumping. Here’s a quick overview of what you should know about these hazards and the steps you can take to report any storm drain dumping in Bethel, OH you happen to witness.
Keep your waterways healthy
There are some circumstances in which polluted waterways are simply a result of the stormwater picking up pollutants that managed to find their way into drains or in surrounding areas of waterways.
The Storm Water Management Program (SWMP) was developed in 2003 by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). It is an inter-agency effort to control pollutants in stormwater discharge. The focus of the program is to get multiple ODOT programs to come together and train in best practices for stormwater management, plan out stormwater management processes, maintain storm drains and drainage systems and construct additional systems and facilities as needed, all with a focus on delivering high-quality water.
ODOT operates in full compliance with the Clean Water Act requirements set forth by the Ohio EPA and focuses on cutting down on the amount of pollutants put into local waterways by the state’s storm drain system.
There are certain areas where stormwater is more likely to pick up debris than in other locations. For example, areas that see a lot of industrial work are more likely to have hazardous materials in the ground, and those chemicals or materials could end up in the water when it runs off into storm drains. This is why there are regulations in place to make sure industrial companies operate at a certain level of cleanliness to reduce their environmental impact.
A big issue is when people actually dump materials directly into storm sewers. Illegal discharges of this type can be a significant cause of water pollution. ODOT is committed to identifying and eliminating these discharges through the SWMP, as these discharges can be a major public health concern. At the very least, they can result in some very unpleasant odors near the storm drains, but they can also do some major damage to aquatic life and become a public health risk for people who use municipal drinking water.
Common examples of this include people dumping soap- or chemical-laced water down storm drains, or dumping old paint or other chemical finishes down drains. This is illegal and punishable by fines.
If you are aware of someone illegally discharging chemicals or other substances down storm drains, it’s important to report storm drain dumping to the proper authorities as soon as possible. There are forms you can fill out on the ODOT website to submit a report.
For more information about proper stormwater management in Bethel, OH, contact Gullett Sanitation Services Inc. today.