Information provided by the Westchester County Planning Dept.
Stormwater runoff is the excess rain or melted snow that cannot be absorbed by the soil and flows off our roofs, and over our yards, parking lots, and streets. It becomes nonpoint source pollution when it picks up contaminants along the way such as litter, fertilizer, and car oils, and enters a storm drain system where it is transported to a waterbody. Stormwater runoff has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a major contributor of pollution to our watercourses, waterbodies and wetlands, and is also a concern for flooding.
Storm drains are the grate openings you see along curbs, streets and parking lots. Their purpose is to collect stormwater runoff and direct it through a conveyance system to a discharge point such as a stream or lake. A sanitary sewer, on the other hand, takes household waste water from toilets, sinks and showers and transports it to a wastewater treatment facility where the water is treated thoroughly before it is released.
Westchester County Efforts
In November 1999 the EPA finalized regulations that require small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) in urbanized areas to reduce discharges from storm sewers to the maximum extent practicable by developing and implementing programs to manage stormwater runoff. Many of Westchester County’s programs already meet these permit requirements, and others are being created to provide even more protection of our water resources.
What can I do?
Your day-to-day activities on land have an effect on your water quality, whether it’s your drinking water or your favorite beach, but there are simple things that you can do differently in order to protect this valuable, natural resource.
For more information, visit the Weschester County Department of Planning Stormwater Management website.
The Town of Ossining has been complying with the NYS DEC requirements for an MS4 community. This requires completion of several tasks over a period of years. One of those tasks is entitled, “Illicit Storm Water Discharge Detection Elimination.” Another task is entitled, “Public Participation.” A third is entitled, “Public Education.”
We have been monitoring the Town’s storm drainage system via the Building and Highway Departments. However, you can help satisfy the NYS DEC requirements by participating in the same type of survey as our Town Departments. The attached Survey Form is simple to complete and does not take much time. Perhaps while at the bus stop, or an afternoon walk. Your children can help, also.
The idea is to identify any location where the “wrong stuff” is being put into the storm drainage system. That “wrong stuff” could be motor oil, soap suds, septic system overflows, industrial discharge, or anything of that sort.
Several sample entries are shown in italics on the top of the attached form. Don’t be concerned about wording your entry perfectly. Please enter the location and results even if there is no problem observed. We need to look at the entire storm drainage system. The intent is to locate these situations. Each Illicit Discharge will be looked into. So, technically accurate descriptions are not necessary. Each survey sheet may be sent in with as few as 1 or 2 lines filled out. No cover letter is needed to send in the survey sheets.
Please mail the form to:
Town of Ossining Building Department
Operations Building – Rte 9A
PO Box 1166
Ossining, NY 10562
Thank you for your help in this matter. This effort will help clean up our storm drains, streams and rivers, in addition to complying with the NYS DEC requirements.
Across the nation, attention is being shifted to sources of pollution, such as Stormwater runoff, that are not normally treated by wastewater treatment plants. Stormwater management, especially in urban areas, is becoming a necessary step in seeking further reduction of pollution in our waterways.
(from Town of Ossining and Green Ossining Committee)