What is Stormwater?

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The first hour of urban stormwater runoff has a
pollution index far greater than that of raw sewage


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stormwater-runoffThe first hour of urban stormwater runoff has a pollution index far greater than that of raw sewage, according to the University of Arkansas Community Design Center.  Addressing pollution and flooding related to stormwater are important for our community and a mission related task of the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks.

Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater runoff from soaking into the ground as it would naturally.  Stormwater from urban areas can significantly affect water quality.  To learn more about stormwater and the problems it can cause, visit the EPA’s excellent website for a more in depth explanation and illustrations:  http://water.epa.gov/action/weatherchannel/stormwater.cfm

If you are interested in stormwater issues in Springfield, like where to report pollution, finding out what river or stream the stormwater from your neighborhood flows into, or the stormwater (MS4) permit many Cities are required to have, visit http://www.springfieldmo.gov/stormwater/

In general, we encourage people to think about hydration rather than drainage of the landscape: let water hydrate/soak into the soil to be cleansed by good bacteria and plants and recharge our aquifers with clean water rather than quickly draining which carries more pollution downstream and exacerbates floods.  Best Management Practices and Low Impact Development strategies are used to improve stormwater quantity and quality in the built environment.  Many of these practices are used at the Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill Park, and Watershed Staff can explain the practices and how they work.

For a good explanation of LID you might try this link:  http://www.lid-stormwater.net/background.htm  For a mind blowing amount of information about Stormwater BMP’s you might check out http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/menuofbmps/