With the rainy season upon us, the City of Thomasville Public Works Department would like to provide citizens with important residential stormwater tips that can help prevent flooding in our streets and neighborhoods. “Stormwater runoff occurs when rain flows over the ground,” said Stephen Stewart, Public Works Superintendent. “Impervious surfaces like driveways, roofs, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground.”
Stewart says that if stormwater picks up debris such as dirt, grass clippings, and other yard waste, it can block catch basins, pipes, and other stormwater conveyance systems and result in the flooding of streets and homes and potentially cause other damage. “It is very important that we keep grass clippings, trash, and dirt off the street, out of the gutter, out of open ditches, and off the inlets and drains,” said Stewart. “Two of the easiest ways to prevent flooding is to not put yard waste in the street and to avoid sweeping trimmings into a storm drain.”
It is also important to know that everything that enters the stormwater system is discharged directly into our local waterways untreated. “Every time it rains, gallons and gallons of polluted runoff flow into our creeks, streams, rivers and ponds,” said Stewart. “Polluted runoff may include motor oil, yard clippings, soil, fertilizers, pesticides, trash and litter. The pollutants come from roads, yards, driveways, gutters and are sometimes dumped directly into storm drains.”
There are also additional steps that can be taken at home to help protect our local streams, rivers, wetlands, and ponds. “Always use lawn care fertilizers and pesticides as directed,” said Stewart. “It is also important to consider maintenance of your automobiles in relation to stormwater management. Repair automobile fluid leaks in a timely manner and also be sure you dispose of used auto fluids and batteries at designated drop-off or recycling locations,” said Stewart. “Additionally, when washing your car, park it on your grass so that the water infiltrates into the ground instead of running off into the collection system.”
Another pollutant of ground and surface water is pet waste. “When walking your pet, please remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly,” said Stewart. “Dog feces are a source of bacteria and when it rains, the waste gets washed directly into our waterways.”
Stewart said that Thomasville’s storm drain inlets are located throughout our city and are identifiable by either a metal grate or a concrete lid with an open face. “Everything that goes down a storm drain eventually ends up in one of our waterways,” he said. “It is important to remember that even if waste material is out of sight and down one of these drain inlets, the pollutants will eventually degrade our water quality. Ultimately, these pollutants are harmful to us and the environment.”
“Remember, we are all part of the solution,” said Stewart. “We can all make a difference with the daily actions that we take and by spreading the word about the proper steps we can take in order to protect our natural water resources from polluted stormwater runoff.”
For more information about stormwater runoff or storm drain markers, visit Thomasville.org.