What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is a valuable resource where we live and work. Before modern developments, rain water landed on trees and vegetation, where it was absorbed by plants and soils, as well as local creeks and rivers.
Today, that same rainwater hits impermeable surfaces like roofs, concrete walkways and asphalt roads. This rain water moves fast, causing erosion and flooding, and picks up all kinds of trash and pollutants along the way to the storm drain.
Stormwater management is not just about preventing pollution. It is also about changing the way we build our community so that we can reconnect with this valuable resource.
Why is Stormwater Runoff a Concern?
Water from storms picks up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants. This water then flows directly to our local waterways and our regional watershed.
Our watershed stretches from the snowy Sierra Nevada mountaintops, down the foothills and through the valley into the Delta and then to the San Francisco Bay, and eventually the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, pollution and trash from the water impacts wildlife and drinking water.
What are the Effects of Stormwater Pollution?
- Polluted stormwater runoff hurts plants, fish, animals and people.
- Polluted stormwater affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, affects human health and increases drinking water treatment cost.
- Sediment clouds water bodies and that makes it difficult for aquatic plants to grow.
- Excess nutrients cause algae blooms, which hurt fish and aquatic organisms.
- Bacteria and other pathogens wash into swimming areas and create health hazards.
- Debris – including plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, cigarette butts, lids and bottle caps – washes into water bodies and injure aquatic life.
- Household hazardous wastes (insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil) poison aquatic life.
- Land animals and people become sick or die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
What is the Difference between the Storm Drain System and the Sanitary Sewer System?
Every time you use the shower, sink or toilet, the water goes through Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District waste-water facility. This water goes through a number of wastewater treatment processes so that only cleaned water enters the waterways.
However, water that passes through the storm drain system remains completely untreated! The water that flows through the storm drain system carries pollutants (e.g. pesticides, fertilizers, litter) directly into the Sacramento River and the Deep Water Ship Channel.
What is an MS4 Permit?
The MS4 Permit requires that the City manage stormwater impacts from a variety of sources, including illicit discharges, construction projects, litter, residential irrigation runoff, pool draining, commercial kitchens and manufacturing facilities. The City also helps prevent stormwater pollution through education, outreach, business and residential support; and by managing municipal operations and sites effectively. For more information or help with stormwater protection, please call the Environmental Services Department at (916) 617-4590.
On February 5, 2013, the State Water Resources Control Board (State) adopted the Phase II Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit, Water Quality Order No. 2013-0001-DWQ, General Permit No. CAS000004 (Phase II Stormwater Permit). The effective date of the permit was July 1, 2013, with the requirements phased in over the five-year permit term. The Phase II Stormwater Permit regulates discharges from Small MS4s and requires Permit holders to implement a stormwater management program. The City of West Sacramento is named as a Small MS4 Permittee in the Phase II Stormwater Permit and implements its stormwater management program locally to prevent and eliminate stormwater pollution to the maximum extent practicable.