Minimizing Storm Water Pollution- A Combined Effort
As storm water flows over driveways, lawns and sidewalks it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants. Storm water can flow into a storm sewer or directly into a lake, stream, river, wetland or costal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into water bodies we use for swimming, fishing and drinking water. Polluted water is the nation's greatest threat to clean water.
By practicing healthy habits, homeowners can keep common pollutants like pesticides, pet waste, grass clippings and automotive fluids off the ground and out of storm water. Adopt these healthy household habits and help protect our waterways.
Vehicle and Garage
- Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on turf or other unpaved surface to minimize the amount of dirty, soapy water flowing into the storm drain and eventually into your local waterway.
- Check your car, boat, motorcycle and other machinery and equipment for leaks and spills. Make repairs as soon as possible. Clean up fluid spills with an absorbent material like kitty litter or sand and don't rinse the spills into a nearby storm drain. Finally, properly dispose of the absorbent materials.
- Recycle used oil and other automotive fluids at participating service stations. Don't dump these chemicals down the storm drain or dispose of them in your trash.
Lawn and Garden
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When use is necessary, use these chemicals at the recommended rates. Avoid application of the forecast calls for rain; otherwise, chemicals will be washed into your local waterway.
- Select native plants and grasses that are drought and pest resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer and pesticides.
- Sweep up yard debris, rather than hosing down areas. Compost or recycle yard waste when possible. Do not rake leaves into the roadway or into storm water basins.
- Don't overwater your lawn. Water during the cooler times of the day and don't let water runoff into the storm drains.
- Cover piles of dirt and mulch used in landscaping projects to prevent these pollutants from blowing or washing off your yard and into waterways. Vegetate bare spots in your yard to prevent soil erosion.
Home Repair and Improvement
- Before beginning an outdoor project, locate the nearest storm drains and protect them from debris.
- Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such as concrete.
- Use hazardous substances like paints, solvents and cleaners in the smallest amounts possible and always follow the directions on product labels. Clean up spills immediately and dispose of the waste safely. Store substances properly to avoid leaks and spills.
- Purchase and use non-toxic, biodegradable, recycled and recyclable products when possible.
- Clean paint brushes in a sink basin. Filter and re-use paint thinners when using oil based paints. Properly dispose of excess paints through a household hazardous waste collection program or donate unused paints to a local organization.
- Reduce the amount of paved area and increase the amount of vegetated area in your yard. Consider directing downspouts away from paved surfaces on to lawns and take other measures to increase natural filtration and reduce polluted runoff.
Miami Township's Efforts
The Road Department performs a yearly Catch Basin and Dry Well Inspection program on Township maintained roadways. The program commences after the Leaf Collection Program ends each year. Crews inspect and record the condition of each catch basin and dry well located on Township maintained roadways. The basins are cleaned during inspection and a list is compiled of basins in need of repair. The repair process will begin in Spring and continue through the Summer months until all repairs are completed.
Catch Basin Drain Marking Program
In 2007, the Road Department began the process of applying stainless steel placards to all storm system catch basin lids and grates. The markers are stamped with the phrase “No Dumping - Drains to Waterway” and applied with an industrial strength adhesive. The goal of the program is to raise public awareness to the dangers of dumping waste products into the storm water system. This activity is part of Miami Township’s Annual Storm Water Management report submitted to Montgomery County and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Crews will continue the program until all storm water inlets in Miami Township are marked.
Drains, Ditches & Watercourses Information
“The responsibility for the maintenance and improvement of drains, streams, ditches and watercourses, whether established County/Township ditches or not, rests entirely upon the land owners affected and benefited. It is not the obligation of the County/ Township to maintain or improve the storm drainage facilities across any individual’s property for either agricultural purposes or development of suburban home sites. When an individual purchases property, the principal of “Caveat Emptor” or “let the buyer beware”, is the purchaser’s best guideline. Land ownership has many potential and real benefits, but also comes with certain liabilities. Storm drainage facilities fall under the liability category of property ownership. These storm drainage facilities cannot be closed, obstructed or altered in any way which would reduce the capacity for conveying storm water across private property. Any owner is liable for upstream property damage for failure to properly maintain storm drainage facilities across his own property.” Passage from Montgomery County Engineer pamphlet, “Responsibility and Procedure for Improvement and Maintenance of Drains, Ditches and Watercourses.
The act of installing drainage tiles from downspouts and basement sump pumps out to the roadway is not permitted by Miami Township. Many tiles were installed decades ago and before some Township rules were created, but Miami Township will not currently approve permits to excavate within the right-of-way for the purposes of diverting water on to the roadway. Miami Township will gladly aid residents in identifying alternate solutions for dispersing storm water on a property. In extreme cases, dumping excess storm water into the roadway or on sidewalks can create a public safety hazard. For additional information call (937) 866-4661 weekdays between 7:00 a.m. & 3:30 p.m.