Stormwater is the water from rain, melting snow, hail and sleet that flows across the ground and then travels down our street gutters into the storm drain. Stormwater, like the rainwater it comes from, begins as clean water. It is then carried by the street gutter into the storm drain inlet and underground pipe system. These drains are the inlets you see at street corners, the low points on the sides of streets, or in parking lots. The system drains into our creeks and the North Platte River.
Stormwater is untreated
Stormwater flows directly into our rivers, lakes and streams. It is never treated. Everything stormwater collects from the land surface, roadways, sidewalks, parking lots, construction sites, business parks, etc., is carried to gutters, storm drains, ditches, drainageways, and finally ends up in our local rivers and streams untreated.
In the past, it was thought that water pollution was caused mainly by industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plant discharges. A lot of effort was put into cleaning up these "point sources" of waste water. Now, the effort is being expanded to clean up "non-point source" pollution or water pollution that is generated all over and carried to rivers and streams in pipes and ditches. It is not feasible to construct a treatment facility for stormwater because of the massive amount of water that passes through the system during a large storm event. Such a facility would be extremely costly to build and maintain, especially since it would sit idle a majority of the time.
Everyone Has a Role to Play
The best way to improve stormwater quality is to treat the source - don't let runoff get polluted in the first place. Residents play a big role in stormwater quality improvement. Everyday, little actions can lead to major changes in stormwater quality. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Fix leaks on your vehicle. Oil and other vehicle fluids get washed by rain and snow melt down the storm drain and into the river.
- Read labels for fertilizers and pesticides, use as directed. Any excess amount you apply gets washed away by rain down the storm drain and into the river.
- Bag your trash to prevent litter when your trash container is emptied or is knocked over by the wind (this is also a City of Casper ordinance).
- Put your butt in the can. Cigarette butts can leach toxins into stormwater. Littered cigarette butts can also be ingested by animals who mistake the butts for food. To learn more about Keep Casper Beautiful's cigarette litter prevention program visit www.putyourbuttinthecan.com.
- Scoop the Poop . Pick up pet waste at home and in parks (this is also a City of Casper Ordinance)
- Sweep dirt, leaves or grass clippings onto your lawn.
- Properly dispose of chemicals, paints, and fertilizers at the household hazardous waste facility . NEVER pour anything down the storm drain.
- For brochures and information regarding what you can do, visit our publications page.