When It Rains, It Drains
Understanding Storm Water and How it can Affect Your Money, Safety, Health, and the Environment
What is stormwater?
Stormwater is water from precipitation that flows across the ground and pavement when it rains or when snow and ice melt. This is called stormwater runoff.
Where does stormwater go?
Stormwater seeps into the ground or drains to what we call storm sewers. These drains are located on street corners or low points along the curb. Drains are connected by pipes underground and go directly to our local streams.
Why is stormwater a concern?
Stormwater becomes a problem when it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants as it flows. Along with the stormwater runoff, these pollutants go directly to our local streams.
What you can do to be part of the solution!!!
- Never dump anything down a storm drain.
- Don’t be a litterbug, instead pick up trash that you see.
- Pick up after your pet.
- Use commercial car washes, or wash your car on the lawn so that water can infiltrate.
- Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly.
- Report any stormwater problems, dumping incidents, stream irregularities, etc. to Eddystone Borough.
PA DEP stormwater website
EPA stormwater Phase II website
Eddystone is a part of the CRCWA watershed.
What is Stormwater
Stormwater is water from precipitation that flows across the ground and pavement when it rains or when snow and ice melt.The water seeps into the ground or drains into what we call storm sewers.These are the drains you see at street corners or at low points on the sides of streets. Collectively, the draining water is called storm water runoff.
Why is Stormwater “Good Rain Gone Wrong”
Stormwater becomes a problem when it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants as it flows or when it causes flooding and erosion of stream banks. Storm water travels through a system of pipes and roadside ditches that make up storm sewer systems. It eventually flows directly to a lake, river, stream, wetland, or coastal water. All of the pollutants storm water carries along the way empty into our waters, too, because storm water does not get treated!
- Pet wastes left an the ground get carried dway by storm water, contributing harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses to our water.
- Vehicles drip fluids (oil, grease, gasoline, antifreeze, brake fluids, etc.) onto paved areas where storm water runoff carries them through our storm drains and into our water.
- Chemicals used to grow and maintain beautiful/owns and gardens, if not used properly, can run off into the storm drains when it rains or when we water our lawns and gardens.
- Waste from chemicals ond materials used in construction can wash into the storm sewer system when it rains. Soil that erodes from construction sites causes environmental degradation, including harming fish and shellfish populations that are important for recreation and our economy.
Where to go to continue the Information flow
Your community is preventing storm water pollution through a storm water management program.This program addresses storm water pollution from construction, new development, illegal dumping to the storm sewer system, and pollution prevention and good housekeeping practices in municipal operations. It will also continue to educate the community and get everyone involved in making sure the only thing that storm water contributes to our water is … water! Contact your community’s storm water management program coordinator or the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for more information about storm water management.
What happens when it Rains?
Rain is an important part of nature’s water cycle, but there are times it can do more damage than good. Problems related to storm water runoff can include:
- Flooding caused by too much storm water flowing over hardened surfaces such as roads and parking lats, instead ofsoaking inta the ground.
- Increases in spending on maintaining storm drains and the storm sewer system that become clogged with excessive amounts of dirt and debris.
- Decreases in sportfish populatians because storm water carries sediment and pollutants that degrade important fish habitat.
- More expensive treatment technologies to remove harmful pollutants carried by storm water into our drinking water supplies.
- Closed beaches due to high levels af bacteria carried by storm water that make swimming unsafe.
We can help rain restore its good reputation while protecting our health and environment while saving money for ourselves and our community. Keep reading to find out how…
Restoring Rain’s Reputation: What Everyone Can Do To Help
Rain by nature is important for replenishing drinking water supplies, recreation, and healthy wildlife habitats. It only becomes a problem when pollutants from our activities like car maintenance, lawn care, and dog walking are left on the ground for rain to wash away. Here are some of the most important ways to prevent storm water pollution:
- Properly dispose of hazardous substances such as used oil, cleaning supplies and paint-never pour them down any part of the storm sewer system and report anyone who does.
- Use pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides properly and efficiently to prevent excess runoff.
- Look for signs of soil and other pollutants, such as debris and chemicals, leaving construction sites in storm water runoff or tracked into roads by construction vehicles.
- Install innovative storm water practices on residential property, such as rain barrels or rain gardens, that capture storm water and keep it on site instead of letting it drain away into the storm sewer system.
- Report poorly managed construction sites that could impact storm water runoff to your community. (See the back of this brochure for contact information.) Report any discharges from storm water outfalls during times of dry weather-a sign that there could be a problem with the storm sewer system.
- Pick up after pets and dispose of their waste properly. No matter where pets make a mess-in a backyard or at the park-storm water runoff can carry pet waste from the land to the storm sewer system to a stream.
- Store materials that could pollute storm water indoors and use containers for outdoor storage that do not rust or leak to eliminate exposure of materials to storm water.
Who are you going to call?
Citizens can help report violations or problems they notice in their local streams before they cause more damage and pollution. Residents sometimes may be the first to recognize “illicit” discharges being directed into storm sewers or flowing out of storm sewer outfall pipes into streams. “Dry weather flows”-flows from storm sewer outfall pipes after 72 hours or more without rain-should be reported to your municipality for further investigation.
You can help by promptly reporting the following events:
- Sediment leaving a construction site during rain events and other construction violations (Delco Conservation District)
- Observed pollution event or pollutants in stream (DEP)
- Clogged, leaking or overflowing sanitary sewer lines (Eddystone Borough)
- Spills, hazardous materials (DEP or PEMA)
- Illegal dumping into water courses or storm sewers (Eddystone Borough, DEP)
- Dry weather flows from storm sewer outfall pipes into streams (Eddystone Borough)
- Fish kills (Fish Commission, DEP)
- Water main breaks (Aqua PA, DEP)
Below are the hotlines for reporting the above events:
- DEP Water Quality Complaint Hotline: 484-250-5991 Monday to Friday 8am to 4:30 pm
- DEP 24-Hour Water Quality Hotline: 484-250-5900 or 800-541-2050 (toll free) Anytime, including evenings and weekends.
- Off site discharge of sediment: 610-892-9484 Delaware County Conservation District
- Clogged, leaking, overflowing sewer lines: 610-874-1100 Eddystone Borough or After hours call 911; if sewage is entering water courses, also call DEP
- Fish Kills, Illegal Fishing: 717-626-0228 PA Fish & Boat Commission. For fish kills, also call DEP at 484-250-5990,
- Dry weather storm sewer outfall flows: 610-874-1100 Eddystone Borough
- Broken water mains: 610-525-1402 Aqua PA 24 hour service