The Solution to Stormwater Pollution
As stormwater flows over driveways, lawns, and sidewalks, it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants. Stormwater can flow into a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water. By practicing healthy household habits, homeowners can keep common pollutants like pesticides, pet waste, grass clippings, and automotive fluids off the ground and out of stormwater. Adopt these healthy household habits and help protect lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, and coastal waters. Remember to share the habits with your neighbors.
Go to www.cleanwaternj.org for best practice guidelines.
Stormwater management is not only critical to our environment, it is critical to our own health and well-being. It is also a complicated matter involving all levels of government, new development and private citizens. In short, it is the responsibility of all of us. People have learned not to simply capture stormwater from rainfalls and to discharge it into our streams. This is detrimental to us and our environment in a number of ways. This out-dated method of stormwater management creates the following damage:
- Fails to recharge our aquifers
- Causes downstream flooding
- Erodes the stream banks and scours the stream bed
- Dumps sediment and pollutants into our streams
The township is required to not only regulate the activities of developers, but to manage its own storm water facilities in such a way as not to pollute our streams. We must also have an active public participation and education component in the program. As you may have noticed storm sewer inlets have now been labeled to let everyone know that they drain directly to our waterways. The water that reaches inlets is not treated at a wastewater treatment plant, like sanitary sewer flow is before it is released into the waterways.
Please help all of us keep our waterways clean by refraining from placing any litter, garbage, leaves, motor oil, anti-freeze, or any other waste into storm sewer inlets or letting it reach them. Please properly follow all waste disposal rules. Remember if it is on your lawn, driveway, or in the street, it will eventually make its way into our waterways. Go to www.cleanwaternj.org for a guide to best practices.
Below are descriptions of a few of the ordinances that have been adopted by the township to help maintain clean waterways:
- Pet Waste Regulations – These regulations are designed to keep pet feces or droppings from being washed into the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), where it would cause pollution of our waterways.
- Anti-Litter Regulations – These regulations are designed to keep litter from being washed into the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), where it would cause pollution of our waterways.
- Wildlife Regulations – These regulations are designed to keep wildlife from concentrating in small areas and their feces from causing pollution of our waterways.
- Illicit Connection/Improper Disposal of Waste Regulations – These regulations are designed to keep non-stormwater flows from discharging into the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), where it would cause pollution of our waterways. This includes both residential and non-residential areas. Examples of prohibited materials include domestic sewage, industrial waste, non-contact cooling water, and process water. Examples of acceptable connections to the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) include sump pumps and footing/foundation drains. Any acceptable connections to the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) must be approved by the Township Engineer in advance. No connections to the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) are permitted unless they are approved by the Township Engineer in advance.
For more information about these regulations, please see the on-line version of The Code of Montgomery Township or contact the Township Clerk’s Office.
Please read the following brochures, books, and tip cards to learn more about what you can do to protect our waterways:
- What is a Watershed and Stormwater Public Education Brochure
- Clean Water Book
- Stormwater Public Education Brochure
- Pet Waste Public Education Brochure
- Car Wash Tip Card
- Motor Oil Tip Card
- Fertilizer Tip Card
- Pet Waste Tip Card
Below are videos that also provide important information regarding ways to protect our waterways:
Publications regarding the use of pesticides and alternatives to using pesticides
Household hazardous waste disposal in Somerset County
Composting in NJ Fact Sheets and Bulletins
Other Lawn and Garden Information and Resources
Businesses also need to be aware that things they do or products they use in their daily operations can enter the stormwater system and effect our water sources. Runoff from construction sites, spills at fueling areas and chemicals used to keep outdoor areas clean can be picked up by rainwater and whisked into the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4).
Please contact the township at 908-359-8211 to report any pollution incident that is impacting municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), surface water or any township waterways.
Special thanks to the Township of Bensalem and Township of Middletown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for development of this information!