Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Unsure of how to keep the stormwater system clean? The city has answers

NEWPORT NEWS — Keeping the city’s stormwater systems clean is an important part of doing your civic duty to the environment.

According to the city, their stormwater system takes rainwater away from the streets and homes through a network of storm drains and ditches.

They say that unlike the water used in homes, which goes to a wastewater treatment plant, stormwater is not treated.

Anything that enters a storm drain will flow directly into local waterways – the same waterbodies you might enjoy for swimming, fishing and recreation.

So anything picked up by stormwater runoff that enters the storm sewer system is referred to as “illicit discharge,” according to the city.

Examples of illicit discharge include:

  • Trash
  • Chlorinated swimming pool water
  • Hazardous chemicals such as paint, oil or lawn chemicals
  • Yard waste
  • Dirty wash water from laundry or cleaning

Some of these materials clog storm drains, blocking the flow of water and contributing to neighborhood flooding during rainfall events, according to the city..

It is also a violation of the city’s stormwater management ordinance to cause or allow the occurrence of illicit discharges, so it’s important to know what’s okay and what’s not when it comes to disposal of wastes.

The city gives an easy rule of thumb: “Only Rain Down the Storm Drain.”

(HNNDaily Photo/courtesy of the city of Newport News)
(HNNDaily Photo/courtesy of the city of Newport News)

The city also offers a few ways that you can keep the storm drains clean:

  • Pick up after your pets.
  • Fix auto leaks immediately.
  • Keep trash cans and recycling bins secured with the lids closed.
  • Report illegal dumping of trash and other debris.

A few other things the city suggests are maintaining a pet waste station in your community, clean spills up with absorbents and dispose of oil and other household hazardous waste at the Newport News Recovery Operations Center.

Click here to learn more about types of pollution and ways you can help.

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