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Carrollton Reminds Citizens Only Rain Goes in the Storm Drain

Post Date:06/19/2019 6:22 PM

Clean water is a natural resource and the centerpiece of any healthy environment. With continued heavy rainfall in the area, the City of Carrollton reminds citizens about the importance of keeping stormwater pollutant free.

Stormwater is rainwater or snow melt that flows over surfaces, like driveways, roofs, lawns, and buildings, and then enters the storm drain system by the storm inlets (gutters) located in parking lots and on the sides of streets. These inlets are designed to remove water from the streets to prevent flooding. The water is then discharged to surface waters like ponds, creeks, wetlands, and rivers without receiving any type of treatment, meaning whatever the rainwater picks up, flows into the inlet and comes out in a lake, stream, or pond.

Ideally, stormwater should be comprised completely of rainwater. The storm drain is designed to remove rain water quickly from streets and parking lots to prevent flooding. Unfortunately, as the water flows over the various surfaces, it picks up contaminants and carries them to the waterways, resulting in water pollution. While some contaminants can be things such as motor oil, soap/detergents, paint, trash, pet and human waste, and fertilizers, it can include grass clippings and other vegetation as well. These contaminants pollute our surface waters and affect the local drinking water supply, recreation, and wildlife.  

Grass clippings clog the City’s storm drain system, accumulate in inlets and outfalls, and flood the street instead of draining the rain water effectively. The clippings also carry nutrients which cause plants and algae in waterways to grow faster and more abundantly. This plant growth chokes a waterway by removing oxygen from the water and forcing fish to relocate or die. When beneficial plants in the waterway die, the amount of oxygen in the water needed for the fish and other wildlife is reduced, again resulting in a fish kill or relocation.

Storm drain inlets are not trash cans. In Carrollton, the polluted storm water runoff eventually flows into the Trinity River, impacting the source of the City’s drinking water.

Here are a few tips on how to keep grass clippings out of the City’s storm drain system:

  • For mowers that shoot grass clippings out of the side, mow a couple of passes with the mower blowing towards the yard before mowing the rest of the yard.
  • For mowers with a grass-collecting attachment, make sure to keep the clippings on the yard and out of the street, curb inlet, ditch, or creek.
  • With a mulching mower, the grass will not be blown out of the side and there is no need to worry about grass blowing into the street.
  • If a storm drain appears to be clogged and can be cleared safely, stand on the sidewalk and use a rake to reach the leaves without entering the street. Residents are not expected to work in the road to remove leaves and grass clippings.
  • Volunteer to label storm drains in your neighborhood to inform residents that they flow directly to City lakes and streams.

The City’s stormwater permit from the State requires a reduction in the amount of pollution that is introduced into the stormwater each year, so Carrollton relies heavily on its residents and businesses to help keep pollution out of surface waters and to report violators when seen. Since stormwater pollution is one of the most difficult sources of water pollution to control, keeping it clean is a community-wide effort. Residents can help by properly caring for their lawns and cars, not littering, and never putting anything down storm drains. To report polluters, call 972-466-3060.

To learn more about preventing stormwater pollution, call 972-466-3063 or visit cityofcarrollton.com/stormwater.
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