What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is the runoff from rain storms that falls onto buildings and collects in puddles, ditches, and runs off into storm drain systems, ponds, streams, etc.
What is a watershed?
A watershed is the entire water source that feeds an area. For instance, you may live on or near Swift Creek, which in turn feeds Black Creek. Black Creek flows to the Big Pee Dee River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean through the Intracoastal Waterway. If the watershed becomes polluted, then swimming, fishing, and even drinking water will be contaminated.
If you swim in it, you could get sick or a rash. If you eat fish out of it, you might get very sick. Ever tried drinking water that had animal waste in it? Yuck!! The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advocated Congress to pass a set of laws regarding Stormwater management, known as the Clean Water Act. These laws tell state and local governments to protect the waterways and watersheds from further pollution, and to fight the pollution that is currently there.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has come up with guidelines for accomplishing this goal. Darlington County is responsible for managing Stormwater in some of the watershed(s) which run through or touch Darlington County. Darlington County Council has adopted a Stormwater Ordinance that provides laws surrounding Stormwater pollution and management in a designated district. These laws are designed to protect our natural resources, often using natural means to filter Stormwater.
So what is the big deal? Why is stormwater important to me?
When it rains, it pours, literally. As rainwater collects and drains, it pulls pollutants into our storm drain systems and waterways, leading to watershed and wetlands contamination, as well. Fishing, swimming, and drinking water are all compromised with pollutants such as oil, pesticides, and animal waste.
What can I do?
There are little things we can do each day to make a difference and give us clean water for drinking and playing. Managing the first inch makes a big difference. There are eco-friendly projects that are easy, fun, and will help you make a difference. See the list below and follow the web links on this page's left column navigation to get more ideas!
- Host a Rain Garden or Rain Barrel presentation through Carolina Clear.Plant trees, shrubs, and flowers.
- Refer to these articles for more information on rain gardens:
- "Rain Gardens Look Good & Do Good Things"
- "Carolina Clear Launches Rain Garden Manual for SC"
- If you are doing any landscaping, then use riparian buffers or silt fencing to keep the dirt and sediment from running into the ditches.
- Pick up Pet Waste, keep reclosable plastic bags within reach.
- Teach your friends and neighbors about water pollution and watershed protection.
- Learn what watershed you live in.
- Recycle! Reduce! Reuse! Close the loop.
- Buy a rain barrel, filter the water, and use it to water your plants.Dispose of oil, batteries, and brown and white goods properly at the Recycle Stations.
- Refer to these articles for more information on rain barrels:
- "Use a Rain Barrel to Conserve Water"
- "Help Reduce Water Consumption - Buy a Rain Barrel"
- Wash your cars with eco-friendly products.
- Make it a practice to think Would I want to drink this water? Even bottled water has to come from somewhere.
- Liquid coming out of pipes in the ground on a sunny day when we have had no rain. What color is it? Is it foamy? Does it smell or stink?
- Trash in swales and in storm drains. Yard debris.
- Leaky septic systems.
- Leaky sewer systems.
- Manhole covers or storm drain covers that have gross-looking stuff coming up out of them.
- Oil or colorful or smelly liquids draining into storm drains.
- Places at construction sites or landscaping areas where dirt and sediment is headed for the road and storm drains, creeks, or rivers.
- Drainage ponds that have stuff over-growing in them.
- Areas of trash that need to be cleaned. Also, trash in ditches blocks the free-flow of water and carries bacteria.