United States
       Environmental Protection
       Agency
August 1993
832-F-93-002
       Office of Water
                       WH-547
*B*  When It Rains,
       It Drains             '
       What Everyone Should
       Know About Storm Water

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WHAT IS  STORM
WATER?
Storm water is water from precipita-
tion that flows across the ground
and pavement when it rains or
when snow and ice melt. The water
seeps into the ground or drains into
what we call storm sewers.  These
are the drains you see at street
corners or at low points on the sides
of your streets. Collectively, the
draining water is called storm water
runoff and is a concern to us in
commercial and industrial sites as
well as your neighborhood because
of the pollutants it carries.

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 COMMON    CO
INDUSTRY - At industrial sites, chemical spills that
contain toxic substances, smoke stacks that spew emis-
sions, and uncovered or unprotected outdoor storage
or waste areas can contribute pollutants to storm
water runoff.
AGRICULTURE - Pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides
used in crop production can be toxic to aquatic life and
can contribute to over-enrichment of the water, caus-
ing excess algae growth and oxygen depletion.  Al-
though storm water runoff from agricultural areas is
not regulated under the EPA storm water permitting
program, it is a nonpoint source of storm water pollu-
tion covered under other EPA programs.
WHAT  ARE  SOME  OF
THEIR  EFFECTS  ON
PLANTS,  ANIMALS,
AND   HUMANS?
When polluted storm water runoff reaches our
waterways, it can have many adverse effects on
aquatic plant and animal life, other wildlife that use
the water, hiyiM^s who drink the water, use it for

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NTRIBUTORS  T
   CONSTRUCTION - Waste from chemicals and materi-
   ' als used in construction can wash into our waterways
   during wet weather. Soil that erodes from construc-
   tion sites can contribute to environmental degrada-
   tion as well.
       Sediment and other debris clog
         fish gills, damage fish
          habittit, and block the
           light needed for the
           plants to survive.
hing, boating, swimming and other recreational
tivities, and on humans and animals who eat the
ntaminated fish and othj^eafood.

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   STORM    WAT
HOUSEHOLD - Vehicles drip fluids (oil, grease, gaso-
line, antifreeze, brake fluids, etc.) onto paved areas
where storm water runoff carries them through our
storm drains and into our waterways.
 HOUSEHOLD - Chemicals used to grow and maintain
 beautiful lawns and gardens, if not used properly, can
 run off into the storm drains when it rains or when we
 water our lawns and gardens.
          Storm water picks
      up debris such as plustii
   ' that can choke, suffocate
    or disahle marine life such
   | as dolphins and turtles.
 Shellfish h
  contamin
  with fxilli
 that settle
of rivers, strt
rendering thi

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ER    POLLUTION
    HOUSEHOLD - Pet wastes left on the ground get
    carried away by storm water, contributing harmful
    bacteria, parasites and viruses to our waterways.
   OTHER COMMON  HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS
   THAT COULD  CAUSE  POLLUTION  IF
   CARRIED OFF  BY STORM WATER  RUNOFF
   OR  DUMPED DOWN STORM SEWERS:

     Ammonia-based cleaners, drain cleaners
     Car care products such as detergents with phosphate
     and car waxes
     Paint, paint thinners, varnish, furniture refinishing
     products, paint brush cleaners
     Concrete or wood sealants
     Degreasers
     Chlorine bleaches and disinfectants (for swimming
     pools, etc.)
         If storm water contaminates
          our rivers, lakes, and oceans,
          we will no longer he able to
        use them as recreational areas.
:ome
ted
>ants
o the bottoms
ims, and oceans,
shellfish inedible.
    Storm water can
contribute to pollution
 of our water supplies,
  making monitoring
   and treatment of
  our drinking water
     more difficult
    and more costly.

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        WHAT
      CAN  I  DO
     TO  HELP?
Airst, become more aware of what
may be causing storm water pollu-
tion in your area.

Second, help your municipality by:

1.  Reporting to your local munici-
   pal officials -
     Any dumping of inappropri-
      ate materials into storm
      water drains (such as oil,
      antifreeze).
     Construction sites over 5
      acres that do not have
      erosion or sediment controls.

2.  Using good  housekeeping prac-
   tices with lawn care chemicals,
   oil, gasoline, pet wastes, etc.

3.  Helping to start or participating
   in  programs to recycle and
   safely dispose of used oil and
   household hazardous wastes and
   containers.

4.  Telling others about pollution
   from storm  water runoff and
   what they can do to help.

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   Debris along street picked up by storm water.

WHY 1$ STORM WATER A PROBLEM?

Storm water is a  problem  when it picks up
debris, chemicals, and other  pollutants as it
flows or when it causes flooding and erosion
of stream banks. The pollutants are deposited
untreated into our waterways. The result can
be the closing of our beaches; no swimming,
fishing or boating; and injury to the plants
and animals that  live in or use the water.

WHAT ARE THESE POLLUTANTS?
WHERE DO THEY COME FROM ?
WHAT ARE SOME  OF THEIR
EFFECTS ON PLANTS,  ANIMALS,
AND HUMANS ?

The following information will answer these
questions and let you know what you and
your community can  do to  help recognize
where there could be a problem and what to
do to help solve it!

EPA  has a storm water program  that, with
your help, can keep our rivers, lakes, streams,
and oceans open  to use and enjoyment, and
healthy for plants and animals to  live in.
  Debris wash
on the beach by storm water.

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WHERE DOES THE
STORM WATER GO
AFTER IT DRAINS
INTO STORM
SEWERS?
Storm water that does not seep
into the ground, drains into
systems of underground pipes or
roadside ditches and may travel for
many miles before being released
into a lake, river, stream, wetland
area, or coastal waters.

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M
M
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT
MORE  INFORMATION?

Your EPA Regional Office
(Water Management Division)

1.  EPA Region I (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT)
   JFK Federal Bldg.; Boston, MA 02203
   617-565-3478

2.  EPA Region II (NJ, NY, PR, VI)
   26 Federal Plaza; New York, NY 10278
   212-264-2513

3.  EPA Region III (DE, MD, PA, VA, WV, DC)
   841 Chestnut Street; Philadelphia, PA 19107
   215-597-9410

4.  EPA Region IV (AL, GA, FL, MS, NC, SC, TN,
   KY) 345 Courtland St., NE; Atlanta, GA 3036'
   404.347.4450

5.  EPA Region V (IE, IN, OH, MI, MN, WI)
   77 W. Jackson Blvd.; Chicago, IL 60604
   312-353-2145

6.  EPA Region VI (AR, LA, OK, TX, NM)
   1445 Ross Ave., Suite 1200
   Dallas, TX 75202-2733
   214-655-7100

7.  EPA Region VII (IA, KS, MO, NE)
   726 Minnesota Ave.; Kansas City, KS 66101
   913-551-7030

8.  EPA Region VIII (CO, UT, WY, MT, ND, SD)
   999 18th St., Suite 500;  Denver, CO 80202
   303-293-1542

9.  EPA Region IX (AZ, CA, GM, HI, NV)
   75 Hawthorne Street; San Francisco, CA
   94105
   415-744-2125

1O. EPA Region X (AK, ID, OR, WA)
   1200 Sixth Ave.; Seattle, WA 98101
   206-553-1793

 Other sources include:

   Storm Water Hotline (703) 821-4823

   State and Local Agencies
                  Recycled/Recyclable
                  Printed with Soy/Canola Ink on paper thai
                  contains at least U^Kecvcted fiber

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             EPA     NATi
    MUNICIPAL   PROGRAM
    Here are some of the most important steps your
    community can take to control storm water pollution:
                Prevent the release into the storm sewer system of hazardous substances
                such as used oil or household or yard chemicals
                Make sure new commercial and residential developments include storm
                water management controls, such as reducing areas of paved surfaces to
                allow storm water to seep into the ground.
                 Promote practices such as street sweeping, limiting use of road salt,
                 picking up litter, and disposing of leaves and yard wastes quickly.
                Collect samples of storm water from industrial sites to see whether
                pollutants are being released. If so, identify the type and quantity
                of pollutants being released.
                                                                     ff
                 Design and institute flood control projects in a way that does not
                 impair water quality.
                Prevent runoff of excess pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides by using
                them properly and efficiently. (Commercial, institutional, and
                residential landscapes can be designed to prevent pollution, conserve
                water, and look beautiful at the same time.)
                 Make sure that construction sites control the amount of soil that is
                 washed off by rain into waterways.
                Promote citizen participation and public group activity to increase
                awareness and education at all levels. Encourage local collection
                pick-up days and recycling of household hazardous waste materials
                to prevent their disposal into storm drains.
   MUNICIPAL   SUCCESS  STORY
    northwest city, recognizing the need for storm water management, set
up a special water utility to oversee all local government storm water control
activities and to raise the money for storm water projects. The city collects
fees from citizens using the storm water sewer system and uses the funds to
implement storm water programs. The program is still successfully provid-
ing funds for such varied purposes as flood control, maintenance of existing
storm water controls, and public education.

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                                        ATER
     e can agree that the best way to protect
water quality is to avoid polluting it in the first
place. EPA has a National Storm Water Permit
Program that focuses on municipal and indus-
trial pollution prevention to help control storm
water pollution. This program involves issuing
permits to certain municipalities and industries
to control storm water pollution.  Development
of State and local storm water  management
programs can help to achieve the Clean Water
Act goals of fishable and swimmable waters.
INDUSTRIAL   PROGRAM
Storm water permits require many industrial facilities to
prepare and implement storm water pollution prevention
plans.  Listed below are examples of industries and their
pollution prevention activities.

     Owners of construction sites that disturb 5 or more acres must develop a
     plan before beginning construction. The plan must limit the area of
     disturbed soil and provide controls  like sediment basins  to keep
     sediment from running off.
                                                      Operators of saw mills can reduce pollution by storing their materials
                                                      and processing their products indoors; and removing any by-products
                                                      from outdoor areas before these products come in contact with storm
                                                      water runoff.
                                                      Operators of landfills should keep the storm water runoff from flowing
                                                      over the pollutants and carrying them off the landfill site.
                                                      Airport employees can reduce storm water runoff pollution by using
                                                      de-icing chemicals only in designated collection areas and by cleaning
                                                      oil and grease spills from pavement immediately.
                                                      Chemical plant operators should develop spill prevention plans and use
                                                      types of containers that do not rust or leak, eliminating exposure of
                                                      materials to storm water runoff.
                                                      Owners of automobile junkyards should drain fluids from junked cars
                                                      and properly dispose of hazardous chemicals.

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                                                         Chemical plant operators should develop spill prevention plans and use
                                                         types of containers that do not rust or leak, eliminating exposure of
                                                         materials to storm water runoff.
Permits issued for municipal storm water sys-
tems allow communities to design storm water
management programs that are suited for con-
trolling pollutants in their own municipal sys-
tems. EPA hopes this flexibility will encourage
community interest and participation in solv-
ing storm water runoff problems.
                                                         Owners of automobile junkyards should drain fluids from junked cars
                                                         and properly dispose of hazardous chemicals.
Operators of trucking terminals should develop good housekeeping
practices that clean up leaks and spills of oil and grease from the path of
storm water runoff.
INDUSTRIAL  PROGRAM
Most  permits issued under the storm  water
program require development and use of a storm
water pollution prevention plan.  Such plans
describe how the facility will prevent  storm
water from becoming polluted by making sure
that:

  Potential pollutants are not left outside un-
   covered
  Spills are prevented
  If  spills occur, they are cleaned up right
   away
  There is no dumping of polluting substances
   into storm drains
  Grass and other vegetation  is  planted as
   quickly as possible after soils are disturbed

Some permits may require more extensive pol-
lution control.
Power plant operators often store piles of coal and other fuels that have
toxic components. Runoff from coal piles must be treated; other
substances should be stored away from any possible contact with storm
water runoff.
      INDUSTRIAL   SUCCESS  STORY
   A
     manufacturing facility located) in a large midwestern city took an
innovative approach to storm wate^ management. Employees at a plant
with a large fueling station noticed! that during a rain storm, the runoff
flowing into the city's storm sewer Isystem had an oily sheen, caused by
spilled fuel.  To prevent future spills^ the plant trained its drivers to avoid
overfilling fuel tanks, laid down sawdust around the fueling station to
absorb any accidental spills (the plant is careful not to wash the sawdust
down the drain), and installed an oil/ water separator to remove oil from the
runoff before the runoff enters the storm drain.

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