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Why is Stormwater Runoff a Concern?

Water from storms can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water.

Pollutants may include but are not limited to:

  • Sediment
  • Commercial & Household Carpet Washing Wastewater
  • Paints, Varnishes & Solvents
  • Motor Oil & Other Automotive Fluids
  • Non-hazardous Liquid and Solid Wastes, Refuse, Rubbish, Garbage or Litter
  • Hazardous Waste
  • Floatables
  • Pesticides, Herbicides & Fertilizers
  • Sewage
  • Animal Wastes
  • Waste & Residues From Construction (Sediments, Slurries and Concrete Rinsates)

What are the Effects of Stormwater Pollution?

  1. Polluted stormwater often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.
  2. Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people.
  3. Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment also can destroy aquatic habitats.
  4. Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can’t exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.
  5. Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary.
  6. Debris – including plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts, lids and bottle caps – washed into water bodies can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.
  7. Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can 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, toilet, etc. the water you use goes through Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District waste-water facility. The primary difference between the two drainage systems is that the sanitary sewer system goes through a number of wastewater treatment processes so that only cleaned water enters the waterways.

On the other hand, water that passes through the storm drain system remains completely untreated! Storm drains funnel water away from the city and into the local waterways in order to prevent flooding. 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?

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 Permittees 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.

The MS4 Permit requires the City manage stormwater impacts from a variety of sources, including illicit discharges, construction projects, litter, residential irrigation runoff and pool draining, commercial kitchens and manufacturing facilities, and more. 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.


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