Stormwater Management in Webster

The Town of Webster must implement specific policies and procedures in accordance with Federal and State regulations to reduce pollution in local waterbodies. The program includes requirements to address specific pollutants found in stormwater where waters are not meeting water quality goals or designated uses (e.g. fishable, swimmable) under the Clean Water Act. In Webster, this means reducing the levels of total nitrogen and bacteria in stormwater runoff. Pollution can originate over a large area or from a single source. Whatever the origin, stormwater pollution can be very harmful to the environment, humans, animals, and plants. Stormwater management is also crucial to prevent local flooding and land erosion. Learn more, be a part of the solution.

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater runoff is rainfall that flows over the ground surface. It is created when rain falls on roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops and other paved surfaces that do not allow water to soak into the ground. Stormwater runoff is the number one cause of stream impairment. Where rain falls on paved surfaces, a much greater amount of runoff is generated compared to runoff from the same storm falling over a forested area. These large volumes of water are swiftly carried to our local streams, lakes, wetlands and rivers and can cause flooding and erosion, and wash away important habitat for critters that live in the stream.

Why Stormwater Management?

Stormwater runoff also picks up and carries with it many different pollutants that are found on paved surfaces (such as fertilizer, oils, salt, sediment, bacteria, grease and trash). These pollutants come from a variety of sources, including pet waste, lawn fertilization, cars, construction sites, illegal dumping and spills, and pesticide application.  These pollutants can cause algae blooms among other health, environmental and aesthetic issues. Unlike wastewater, stormwater runoff is often untreated or only pretreated before it is discharged into our local water bodies. Therefore, it is very important that we work as a community to keep our stormwater clean.

Stormwater and Wastewater Are Not the Same!

  • Underground Collection SystemsYou’ve seen one drain, you’ve seen them all. 
  • They are all the same, right? 
  • I can pour this cleaner down the drain because it goes to a wastewater treatment plant, right? 

Not so! It's important to understand the difference between the Stormwater System and Wastewater System so we can prevent environmental damage.

The stormwater system is a system designed to carry rainfall runoff and other drainage. It is not designed to carry sewage or accept hazardous wastes. Stormwater is the rainfall that is not absorbed by the ground. Stormwater that does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff, which either flows directly into surface waterways or is channeled into storm drains, which eventually discharge to surface waters. It does not flow to a wastewater treatment plant.

Disposal of chemicals or hazardous substances to the stormwater system damages the environment. Motor oil, cleaners, paints and other common household items that get into stormwater drains can poison fish, birds, and other wildlife, and can find their way into drinking water supplies. In addition, grass clippings, leaves, litter, and organic matter can clog stormwater drains and cause flooding.