1. What is stormwater?   (page still in development)

Stormwater runoff is water from rain or melting snow that "runs off" across the land instead of seeping into the ground. This runoff usually flows into the nearest stream, creek, river, lake or ocean without being treated in any way.

2. Why do we need to manage stormwater?

As the saying goes, "we all live downstream." Polluted stormwater runoff is the number one cause of non-point source water pollution in North Carolina! It is much more expensive to clean up polluted water for drinking than it is to use clean water. Furthermore, too much sediment and fertilizers cover up fish habitats and can cause algae blooms which use up the oxygen the fish need to survive.Increased quantities of stormwater also pose a major problem in urban areas. Stormwater cannot infiltrate impervious surfaces such as roads, roofs, parking lots and driveways so it runs quickly into the storm drain or stream. This high volume of fast-moving water picks up more dirt, grass, pet waste and chemicals and washes these pollutants directly into our streams.

3. Aren't sewers and storm drains the same thing?

No. They are two separate systems. Wastewater from homes, industries, etc. travel through the sewer system and are treated at sewage treatment plants before being reused or discharged into water bodies. Stormwater runoff that enters the storm drain system flows directly into creeks, streams, rivers and lakes without any treatment.

4. What is an "illicit discharge"?

Any illicit discharge is any unauthorized discharge that contains anything other than stormwater, unless it is specifically exempt. Illicit discharges include pollutants dumped directly into the storm drain or illegal connections to the storm sewer systems (such as a commercial floor drain or washing machine). The most common types of discharges specifically exempt from regulation include landscape irrigation or lawn watering, air condition condensation pumps, non-commercial washing of vehicles including charity car washes, firefighting activities, etc.

5. What is the Phase II stormwater program?

The federal Clean Water Act requires cities and towns across the US to take steps to reduce polluted stormwater runoff. The first phase of this program addressed large cities. The second phase, "Phase II", requires medium and small cities within urban areas to reduce stormwater. The program, which is administered by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality, has 6 major components:

(1)   Public education and outreach

(2)   Public involvement and participation

(3)   Illicit discharge detection and elimination

(4)   Controlling construction site runoff

(5)   Controlling post-construction runoff

(6)   Good housekeeping for municipal operations

6. How can I learn more about stormwater or become more involved?

Click here for links to resources on the internet about reducing polluted stormwater runoff. To get more involved, click here for volunteer opportunities in the Town of Maiden.



Easy Steps to Prevent Stormwater Pollution

Whether you are a resident, business owner or even a kid, there are many things you can do to reduce stormwater pollution. In addition to the suggestions below, there are many internet resources available for you to learn about stormwater, its impacts and how your can get involved.

Information for Homeowners and Residents

When you buy a home, you become responsible for the condition of the house, the yard and sometimes a septic system. All of these elements can contribute to stormwater runoff and pollution. Even if you are just renting the house, there are things you can do to reduce polluted stormwater.

  Home Maintenance
Use non-toxic cleaners or cleaners with the least amounts of toxins.
Make sure all chemicals are properly stored.
Never dump chemicals or cleaners into a storm drain.
Keep trash cans closed to prevent animals from scattering trash.
Sweep sidewalks, driveways and gutters instead of spraying them with a hose.
Make sure you septic systems are properly maintained. Use qualified, licensed contractors to have your septic tank pumped out on a regular basis. This should be done every one to three years.

  Vehicle Maintenance
Perform regular maintenance on your vehicle to prevent fluids such as oil and antifreeze from entering the storm drain. If you change your oil yourself, dispose of the used oil responsibly.
Clean any spilled fluids with rags or kitty litter. Dispose of the waste at a hazardous waste collection site.
Store hazardous materials properly in the original, closed container.

  Yard Maintenance
Plant more trees and shrubs! Trees absorb water and minimize erosion. Make sure you choose native plants so they will live a long, healthy life.
Do not rake leaves or grass into the street, gutter or storm drain.
Don't mow your grass too short. Grass that is less than 3 inches tends to be weaker and may die, allowing bare patches that increase runoff.
Use organic or non-toxic fertilizers and pesticides. Do not over-fertilize or fertilize before a rainstorm. You'll waste money and harm the environment. Talk with your lawn supply provider to determine the right amount of fertilizer and the correct time of the year to apply it.
Leave grass clippings on the lawn or compost them. Clippings release nitrogen into the soil and you won't have to fertilize as much.
When you walk your dog, be sure to pick up after them. Pet waste causes water pollution too!

  Information for Businesses
Make sure that the storm drains in your parking lot are not clogged.
Collect trash so that it does not wash into our streams or spill chemicals.
Have your lawn care providers practice responsible yard maintenance techniques.
Pour washwater into a janitorial or mop sink – never into the street or gutter.
Recycle grease and oil – don't pour it into sinks or floor drains.
Keep your vehicles in good repair so they don't drip oil or other fluids.
Report chemical spills immediately to the proper authorities.
Keep dumpster area clean and the lid closed – don't fill it with liquid waste or hose it out.
Minimize waste by using non-disposable or recycled and recyclable containers.
Report any illegal connections to the storm sewer system to the Town of Maiden. Proactive measures and/or voluntary compliance will not result in a fine or penalty.

Kid's Corner

Hey kids! There are things you can do to help prevent pollution too. One of the most important things you can do is teach your parents about stormwater and ask them to get involved.

Follow one of the links below for neat activities to learn more about stormwater and reducing pollution:

Kids, can you find the pollution? EPA Kids Pagelots of fun activities!




Report a Stormwater Problem / Contact Staff

If you see something that might be stormwater pollution, please take action by doing one of the following:

Call the Maiden Town Hall at (828) 428-5000.
If you see the potential violation after business hours or on a weekend, you can call toll-free
(877) 623-6748 or use the online complaint form to report it.
"Si Ud. ve que alguien esta pusiendo cualquier cosa en un arroyo o una alcantarilla, escriba a andrea.lytle@wpcog.org.
If the call is an emergency that is threatening the loss of life or property, you should call the Maiden Police Department at (828) 428-5005 immediately.

When calling or completing the complaint form, you should be able to identify the location of the violation, give a description of the water and provide as much information as possible about the person or company responsible for the pollution. Please note that when you report a problem to the authorities, the information becomes public record.



Volunteer Activities

The Town of Maiden has a Storwmater Advisory Committee that meets twice per year to discuss stormwater issues. If you would like to become a part of this group, please email Town Planner
Sam Schultz.

There are also a number of stormwater activities sponsored annually by the Town of Maiden and various community groups. These activities include:

Litter Sweep (Spring and Fall).
Addressing school and community groups.
Storm drain marking (future activity).

If you and/or your community group would like to become involved with the Town's stormwater activites or sponsor your own event, please contact Town Planner Sam Schultz. Town staff will be happy to work with you.



Other Stormwater Resources

There are many internet resources on the web to help you learn more about stormwater. Please follow one of the links below:

NC Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Stormwater Website http://www.ncstormwater.org/

NC Cooperative Extension Service http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/

US Environmental Protection Agency Stormwater Website http://www.epa.gov/ebtpages/watestormwater.html