Rainwater that falls on city streets, parking lots, rooftops, industrial properties and lawns often becomes polluted by automotive fluids, industrial chemicals, and fertilizers before it enters the city’s combined and separate storm sewer systems through catch basins and other drainage structures. Polluted storm water runoff is then carried through the city storm sewer systems and eventually discharged into our local rivers and streams without receiving any treatment. These pollutants can adversely affect water quality in local waterways, thereby creating a potential health hazard and degrading aquatic life habitat. Part of the mission of the City of Charleston Storm Water Management Department is to reduce the quantity of pollutants entering area waterways contained in polluted storm water runoff.
The Federal Clean Water Act require the City of Charleston to develop and implement a Storm Water Management Program that implements six control measures to address polluted stormwater runoff. The following provides a brief summary of each of the required control measures. The City is currently implementing a wide range of projects to meet all of regulatory requirements.
- Public Education and Outreach
This includes distributing educational materials and performing outreach to inform citizens about the impacts polluted storm water runoff discharges can have on water quality and steps they can take to reduce or prevent pollutions
- Public Involvement and Participation
Providing opportunities for citizens to participate in program development and implementation, including effectively publicizing public hearings and/or encouraging citizen representatives on a storm water management panel.
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
Developing and implementing a plan to detect and eliminate illicit discharges to the storm water system.
- Construction Site Runoff Control
Developing, implementing, and enforcing an erosion and sediment control program for construction activities that in urban areas to control erosion and minimize the discharge of the other potential contaminants from construction sites.
- Post Construction Stormwater Management for New and Redevelopment
Developing, implementing, and enforcing a program to address discharges of post-construction storm water runoff from new development and redevelopment areas. Applicable controls could include preventative actions such as protecting vulnerable areas (i.e. streams) or the use of structural BMPs such as grassed swales or buffer strips.
- Pollution Prevention / Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations
Developing and implementing a program with the goal of preventing or reducing pollutant runoff from municipal operations. The program must include municipal staff training on pollution prevention measures and techniques (e.g., regular street sweeping, reduction in the use of pesticides or street salt, or frequent catch- basin cleaning).