What is stormwater runoff?
Stormwater runoff is rainwater that reaches the ground and falls on hard, non-porous (impervious) surfaces like rooftops, buildings, sidewalks and roads. Instead of soaking in, the water then “runs off,” collecting pollutants from lawns, streets and gutters. This runoff then drains directly into rivers, streams, ponds and lakes.
The debris, chemicals, dirt and other contaminants that are picked up in stormwater runoff flow into a storm water system or even directly into streams, lakes and rivers. Anything entering the system is untreated and goes right into water used for fishing and recreation; this water is ultimately treated to be used as drinking water. Additionally, as development adds more impervious surface, its runoff must be managed as well.
What is stormwater management?
Through proper management, we can help reduce or even prevent flooding and erosion of streams. We can also protect and improve the quality of our water and keep contaminants out of the drainage system. In fact, state & federal regulatory agencies require local stormwater programs to control pollution through an unfunded mandate.
City of Kennesaw’s Stormwater Program
The City of Kennesaw’s stormwater system is extensive and aging. Over half of the collection system is outdated, dirty, or nearing the end of its lifespan.
Drainage System Statistics:
– 290,000 feet of pipe- that’s 55 miles!
– 4,000 structures, including catch basins, outlets and junction boxes
– Over 11 miles of roadside ditches
– 250 stormwater detention ponds
– Two thirds of the system is corrugated metal pipe with a useful life of 30-40 years
– Remaining third is concrete pipe with a useful life of 50-100 years
The city’s Public Works Department will address the system’s deficiencies through a multi-pronged approach including more frequent inspection, better maintenance, replacement of broken and ineffective elements of the system, and compliance with government regulations.
What Homeowners Can Do
The public has an important role to play as well. The program’s success depends on the support and involvement of citizens. Become an informed participant in voluntary conservation and preservation initiatives and learn how you can help.
We all have a stake in protecting our valuable resources. Here are ways to help us reduce pollution at the source:
- Dispose of grass clippings and other yard debris by placing it curbside on the designated days; better yet, start a compost
- Don’t discard household hazardous waste like paint, cleaning fluids or gasoline into sinks or toilets
- Reduce runoff by landscaping instead of paving
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly and only in the recommended amounts
- Don’t dump motor oil, antifreeze, or other chemicals down the storm drain; recycle them whenever possible
- Wash your car at a commercial car wash that treats and recycles its wastewater
- When walking your pet, remember to pick up pet waste and dispose of it properly so harmful bacteria don’t wash into storm drains